Thousands of people have signed up for free digital skills courses run by Microsoft Ireland and Fastrack to IT.
More than 2,500 people have registered for StepIn2Tech, a digital skills training programme that was launched four months ago by Microsoft Ireland with Fastrack to IT (FIT).
The programme aims to provide free digital skills training to 10,000 people in Ireland, with a particular focus on those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and those who have recently left school or college. It includes courses in productivity, coding, infrastructure, cloud and design.
StepIn2Tech graduate David Kelly, who recently completed the programme, said: “I was working in a coffee shop when the pandemic hit and then I suddenly found myself at home with no job. I started to look into my options and discovered StepIn2Tech. Over the past couple of months, I’ve completed each of the learning pathways within the programme which included coding, cloud and digital marketing.”
Kelly’s new skills have helped him secure a place on a pre-tech apprenticeship with FIT, which he hopes will provide a stepping stone into a career in technology. “I’m very excited to be on a new career pathway and am optimistic about what the future holds,” he said.
Peter Davitt, CEO of FIT, said that as a result of the pandemic, digital skills “have become essential skills for a wide range of roles across multiple sectors”.
He added that the pandemic had hastened the pace of digital transformation, and programmes such as StepIn2Tech have a role to play in tackling the burgeoning digital skills gap that has emerged over the past 18 months.
It is one of several initiatives Microsoft Ireland has developed as part of its Pathways for Life education and training programme, which is focused on empowering people from all walks of life to develop digital skills.
Microsoft is also cooperating with the Government on the recently launched Pathways to Work scheme, which is offering 50,000 education and training places to people who wish to upskill to secure employment post-pandemic.
“We launched StepIn2Tech as a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic with the goal of supporting an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery,” said James O’Connor, vice-president of Microsoft international operations.
“The programme helps people to acquire the digital skills that are needed to secure employment in the digital economy but also to thrive in their existing roles that, because as a result of the past 18 months, may have been digitised.”
O’Connor encouraged anyone, “whether early or mid-career or out of work”, to avail of the StepIn2Tech programme.
For more information about StepIn2Tech or to register for the programme, see here.