WEF initiative pledges to equip 20 million ASEAN workers with digital skills by 2020

A coalition of major tech companies pledged today to develop digital skills for the ASEAN workforce. The pledge, part of the World Economic Forum?s Digital ASEAN initiative, aims to train by 2020 some 20 million people in South-East Asia, especially those working in small- and medium-size enterprises.

Other goals include raising $2 million in contributions to provide scholarships for ASEAN technology students, ensuring an additional 200,000 digital workers are hired across the region, and engaging at least 20,000 citizens through ?Digital Inspiration Days?, whereby companies invite students and the public to visit their offices and learn more about the character of the jobs of the future. There will also be internship opportunities for ASEAN university students, as well as initiatives to train digital regulators and shape the curricula of technology and computing courses at 20 ASEAN universities.

The aim of the pledge is to establish a regional movement among businesses committed to empowering individuals through skilling, reskilling and upskilling. It will not only increase the number of workers hired for digital jobs and trained in digital skills, but also help support business leaders with insight and analysis of what other companies in the region are doing to build a future-focused workforce.

?The Fourth Industrial Revolution is unfolding at 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. ?These changes are happening just as the working-age population in ASEAN is expanding by 11,000 people every day ? a rate that will continue for the next 15 years. Given these trends, it?s critical that businesses help to build digital skills in ASEAN.?

Called ?ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020?, the public pledge is open for all companies to join, but a number of early champions have already made strong commitments. Google has pledged to train 3 million SME employees throughout the ASEAN region by the end of 2020, while Cisco, Lazada, Microsoft, and the Sea Group have pledged to train another 5,634,000 SME workers.

The pledge also calls for companies to offer ASEAN citizens the opportunity to participate in Digital Inspiration Days, and Cisco, Microsoft, Grab and Sea Group have collectively committed to offer the opportunity to 1,035,000 ASEAN citizens by 2020. Similarly, the pledge calls for internships for ASEAN university students, and Microsoft, Sea Group and Tokopedia together have committed to hire 18,000 interns. Microsoft has also pledged to hire 8,500 ASEAN digital workers by 2020.

The Digital ASEAN initiative was launched by the World Economic Forum in Singapore in April 2018 in response to demand from the Forum?s regional partners in ASEAN, both public and private and has launched five task forces, each focussed on a specific digital issue:

  1. Pan-ASEAN Data Policy ? Shaping a common regional data policy
  2. ASEAN Digital Access ? Optimizing high-quality broadband access for ASEAN
  3. ASEAN Digital Skills ? Building a shared commitment to train digital skills for the ASEAN workforce
  4. ASEAN e-Payments ? Building a common ASEAN e-payment framework
  5. ASEAN Cybersecurity ? Nurturing cooperation and capacity building in ASEAN cybersecurity

By the end of 2020, the aim is for the coalition of companies involved in the pledge to:

  • Train 20 million people working at ASEAN small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in digital skills;
  • Raise US$2 million for scholarships for ASEAN technology students;
  • Hire directly an additional 200,000 ASEAN digital workers;
  • Engage 20,000 ASEAN citizens in ?Digital Inspiration Days?, where companies invite students and the public to their offices to learn more about jobs of the future;
  • Offer 2,000 internship opportunities for ASEAN university students;
  • Contribute to the training of 200 ASEAN digital regulators; and
  • Contribute to shaping the curricula of technology and computing courses at 20 ASEAN universities.

Read about initiatives from Cisco Systems, Lazada Group, Google, Microsoft and the full article here 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *