Person using a computer with the IBM logo on the screen. A wooden table and a red brick wall are in the background.
Image: © Renan/

Irish learners can soon avail of IBM’s expanded free AI learning paths

22 Nov 2023

Students from DCU and FIT will be able to leverage the latest features of SkillsBuild, the free online learning programme run by IBM.

IBM is partnering with Dublin City University (DCU) and Fast Track into Technology (FIT) to expand its educational offering in Ireland. The Irish partnership is part of a global push by the tech giant to close the AI skills gap by providing training to people.

Globally, IBM aims to train 2m people in AI skills by the end of 2026 – and 30m in tech by 2030. It is expanding its AI education collaborations with universities worldwide to deliver AI courses to adult learners. Generative AI learning paths will form a key basis for the expansion. IBM will make AI learning paths available as part of its existing education platform, IBM SkillsBuild.

SkillsBuild is a free education programme that aims to help adult learners and second-level and university students develop new skills and access career opportunities. Already, it has more than 1,000 courses in 20 languages on subjects such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing and design thinking. Its AI courses deal with topics such as basic skills in AI tech, chatbots and ethics. The soon-to-come learning paths will offer topics aligned with generative AI, such as prompt-writing, machine learning, customer service and AI, and practical generative AI skills.

As well as the new coursework, SkillsBuild will add generative AI tools to enhance students’ learning experience – such as chatbots and AI-powered recommendations for individuals.

In Ireland, SkillsBuild has been running in partnership with Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet. Would-be participants can apply on the website on a rolling basis. Now, SkillsBuild will become integrated into DCU and FIT’s curricula.

Peter Davitt, CEO of FIT, welcomed his organisation’s involvement in the delivery of the programme. “During the past twelve months, FIT has seen Ireland’s education system and business community interface with generative AI solutions, posing some challenges and promising future growth.” He said that FIT would complement its own tech apprenticeships and courses with IBM AI course content.

Professor of digital business at DCU, Theo Lynn said that DCU was delighted to be among the first universities in Ireland to incorporate the IBM SkillsBuild generative AI learning and teaching resources into its business analytics modules for this academic year. It will also extend its use of IBM SkillsBuild in postgraduate business analytics programmes.

“By integrating IBM SkillsBuild into our modules, faculty and students have access to training, coursework, resources and certification to ensure that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to the opportunities presented by AI, data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity and enterprise design thinking.”

These new partnerships come a few months after IBM said it was investing €10m to develop its Irish workforce’s skills.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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