Finding skilled workers is a hurdle that employers contend with no matter their region, but it's a problem that global technology firm IBM is hoping to resolve with the launch of a massive upskilling program for 30 million people.
The tech giant this week unveiled 170 new partnerships for harnessing the potential of the future workforce. The program is open to learners of all ages who are eager to develop new skills and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. "The effort will leverage IBM's existing programs and career building platforms to expand access to education and in-demand technical roles," the company said.
As a global initiative, the program will span more than 30 countries in the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and the US by 2030.
"Talent is everywhere; training opportunities are not," said IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna.
"This is why we must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills and employment opportunities so that more people – regardless of their background – can take advantage of the digital economy.
The commitment to train tens of millions of learners aims to "democratise opportunity, fill the growing skills gap, and give new generations of workers the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and society," Krishna said.
IBM's portfolio of educational tools is widely known for its diversity and adaptability. After all, the company believes there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to learning and development. Different age groups, all with their unique skill sets and proficiency levels, will receive training that is tailored to their needs and capabilities.
"IBM's programs range from technical education for teens at brick-and-mortar public schools and universities, and extend to paid, on-site IBM internships and apprenticeships," the company said.
These L&D programs complement in-house mentorship support from IBM staff members and leaders, giving aspiring professionals real-world experience and all-around guidance, on top of their access to customisable online curricula. The plan relies on "broad combinations of programs, and includes collaborations with universities and key government entities – including employment agencies," IBM said.
"Partnerships extend to NGOs as well, particularly those that focus on groups such as underserved youth, women, and military veterans. In general, IBM's efforts mobilise the private sector across the globe to open and expand opportunity pathways for underrepresented and historically disadvantaged communities," IBM said.
By addressing the looming skills gap worldwide, global GDP could rise by US$11.5tn by 2028, according to data from the World Economic Forum.