Microsoft partners with DEPA to support future workforce demand in Eastern Economic Corridor, equipping 50,000 youth with programming skills

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

Group of men and women doing thumbs-up gesture with in room with computers
  • Under ASEAN Digital Innovation program, organized in partnership with Digital Economy Promotion Agency and Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College aiming to enhance capacities through 500 teachers in Thailand and ASEAN
  • A study commissioned by the Eastern Economic Corridor(EEC) Office of Thailand foresees that in the next 4 years, EEC alone requires 475,668 jobs to be filled, with 24% (116,222) in the digital sector

Bangkok – 27 June 2019 – Microsoft (Thailand), in partnership with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) and Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College, recently launched a digital skills training initiative for 500 teachers from 500 schools in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) that will enable them to share their expertise with more than 50,000 secondary students. Under this initiative, Pattaya City 7 School (Ban Nong Pang Kae) has been selected as the model school where ongoing intensive training sessions will be held until the end of 2019. The aim is to develop a high-quality workforce that supports the job market’s future needs, especially in sectors with a digital core.

A study commissioned by the Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand, which surveyed the workforce demand of all industries in the EEC area between 2019 and 2023, predicts that 475,668 new hiring opportunities will open up in this area alone, with 24% (116,222) of them involving digital technologies and skills as core elements. Microsoft is thus committed to developing quality personnel to serve that need and drive the country’s economic growth, which is also in line with the company’s vision to equip young people with digital skills so that they are ready to achieve more in their future careers.

The digital skills training initiative is a part of the ASEAN Digital Innovation Program, a regional Microsoft campaign taking place in 7 ASEAN countries, namely Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia. The program focuses on enhancing young people’s skills through train-the-trainer courses that are specially created on the Future Ready ASEAN website, itself built in collaboration with the ASEAN Foundation.

Mr. Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand, said, “No one can deny that digital transformation is crucial to the survival of businesses. At the heart of this transformation is the need to develop manpower with the necessary digital skills for the future. It is heartening to see that 81% of businesses prioritize skilling and reskilling of workers in the future. They plan to invest as much, or even more, in human capital than in new technology. Even so, 48% of business leaders have yet to implement plans to help their employees to acquire the right skills, which is worrying in today’s context. They must have the urgency to support the fundamental shift in training workers for the future. Microsoft is committed to ensuring they have the capabilities the market expects of them. These same capabilities will also help drive Thailand’s economic growth in the future.”

Man and woman smiling while undergoing digital skills training

The government continues to focus on the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor as it looks to achieving its goals of promoting investment, enhancing the industrial sector, and boosting the country’s competitiveness. The New S-Curve objectives place priority on the development of 5 new industries, including in the digital sector, which is in line with Digital Economy Promotion Agency’s mission to develop the digital industry and innovations as well as support the adoption of digital technology to bring maximum advantages to the economy, society, culture and national security.

Dr. Ratthasart Korrasud, Senior Executive Vice President, Digital Economy Promotion Agency, said, “One of Digital Economy Promotion Agency’s missions is to support and develop a digital workforce and innovations to support the country’s future demands. This partnership with Microsoft to train young people in the EEC area in digital skills is a direct match to our mission as well as that of the Coding Thailand project, which provides a free-to-use website for computer science learning by Thai students and teachers. We truly believe that this collaboration will help us successfully develop a quality workforce to serve the market needs.”

In addition to the partnership with Digital Economy Promotion Agency, Microsoft is collaborating on this digital skills training initiative with Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College. The College, which has more than 30 years of experience in teaching coding skills, is responsible for providing trainers who will teach digital skills to 10 groups of elementary school teachers and 10 groups of secondary school teachers – a total of more than 500 teachers from schools in the 3 EEC provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao. They will be taught coding skills through different courses – including Microsoft’s Minecraft and MakeCode as well as Python, HTML5 and CSS programming to create websites by the trainers from Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College, all of whom have disabilities.

Ms. Sopita Jantaros, a trainer from Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College, said, “I believe that digital skills will increase opportunities to children. It is a teacher’s job to figure out how to inspire them to learn these skills. I focus on teaching them in a way that makes them enjoy themselves, such as through games, and will try to make the skills feel relevant to them – such as by teaching them to code text that appears on an LED display. By building these skills and knowledge at a young age, they will be given more opportunities in the future. To me having a grasp of digital skills is like knowing the third language of the future.”

The project’s model school, Pattaya City 7 School (Ban Nong Pang Kae) will host twice-weekly intensive digital skills training courses staffed by trainers from Pattaya Redemptorist Technological College through the end of 2019. The course is part of the government-led “Moderate Class Hours, More Knowledge” initiative.

Ms. Thomthong Kijwisala, a Matthayom Suksa 3 student from Pattaya City 7 School (Ban Nong Pang Kae), said, “This is the first time I’ve ever learned code and it’s turned out not to be as difficult as some people told me it would be. Learning to code for the LED display was fun and made me feel proud when I achieved it successfully. More importantly, I think learning these skills is beneficial for me because it helps improve my logical thinking, as I need to know what I want and learn what I need to do to achieve it. Therefore, I can apply these skills to everything in my everyday life, not just technology-related learning. I’m actually into arts, and my dream is to become an architect. The systematic thinking skills that I’ve learned through coding sessions will also be helpful for my career as an architect.”