WEF to equip 20 ASEAN workers with digital skills by 2020
As a part of the World Economic Forum’s ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020, major tech companies have pledged to develop the ASEAN workforce’s digital skills as one of the primary steps to skill about 20 million workers in Southeast Asia.
The coalition will also raise $2 Mn in scholarships for ASEAN tech students. The scholarship program will make sure that about 200,000 digital workers will be hired across the region. About 20,000 citizens will be engaged into learning through the “Digital Inspiration Days.”
This initiative sets aside days when students and members of the public can visit the tech companies that are a part of the coalition and learn about the kinds of future jobs developed in the jobs market.
Cisco, Google, Grab, Lazada, Microsoft, Sea Group and Tokopedia are the first companies who have joined the pledge which includes a commitment to hire and train 200,000 ASEAN workers into the workforce. The coalition will also help in shaping the curricula of computing courses and technology training at 20 ASEAN universities.
“I believe that if workers have the right skills, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be highly empowering and will lift wages and living standards in Thailand and across the region. But we need to make sure that workers receive the right training and education today,” said Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand, and an adviser of the ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020 initiative.
Microsoft has decided to provide internship opportunities to 15,000 university students, train about 2.2. million employees in the Small and Medium Enterprises in addition to hiring 8,500 ASEAN digital workers by 2020.
“I believe in a future where every young person has the skills, knowledge and opportunity to succeed. Right now, over half the people on the planet lack basic access to the knowledge and skills that would enable them to participate in the new digital economy,” said Sunny Park, regional director of corporate, external and legal affairs at Microsoft Asia Pacific. “The future of borderless economies, investments, e-commerce and education.”
A regional movement among companies would help increase the number of ASEAN workers hired for digital jobs once they are skilled enough to perform the types of relevant jobs in the future. A “future-focused” workforce is the aim for all companies in the Southeast Asian countries and digital age.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is unfolding at an accelerating speed and changing the skills that workers will need for the jobs of the future,” said Justin Wood, Head of Asia-Pacific and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.
The number of people in the working-age in ASEAN is increasing by 11,000 every day and this rate is projected to remain the same for the next 15 years.
ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020 has pledged to skill three million SME employees across the region by the end of 2020 and Cisco, Lazada, Microsoft and the Sea Group have committed to collectively training 5, 634, 000 SME workers.
Global and ASEAN company leaders hope to create a regional movement that would empower workers through upskilling and business leaders through economic insights and analysis. The aim is to build workforce capabilities that would be relevant and essential in the future.
Five task forces are being created in order to tackle a particular digital challenge: Pan-ASEAN Data Policy, ASEAN Digital Access, ASEAN Digital Skills, ASEAN e-Payments, and ASEAN Cybersecurity.
This initiative that has stemmed from the World Economic Forum is geared towards holistic development of digital skills in the ASEAN countries. A learning and development initiative which will be led by industry leaders plays a crucial role in creating an ecosystem where people are trained in relevant skills that are in demand so that they have employability even in a future where most jobs are digital-focused.