By Valerie Singer, World Economic Forum
- Tech workforce challenges are creating barriers to innovation for public and private sector organizations.
- Innovative partnerships can help close the technical skills gap and build better pathways to in-demand jobs.
- We explore four ways to unlock career opportunities and address the global skills gap.
Government, education, and virtually every industry face tech workforce challenges that can lead to barriers preventing public and private sector organizations from expanding and building operational efficiencies. Intentional partnerships can help accelerate solutions that prepare learners with the skills needed to meet the demands of today’s technological advances, as well as the future of work.
In a 2022 global Gallup study of 30,000 workers and 9,300 employers in 19 countries, advanced digital skills were highly valued. Companies that employ advanced digital workers – such as cloud engineers and software developers – are about 50% more likely to report innovating in the past two years than companies that only use basic digital technologies.
Additionally, 66% of companies that run some or most of their business in the cloud reported innovating products or services in the past two years, a rate five times higher than companies that do not currently use the cloud.
As digital transformation continues to drive business growth and improve how we live, work, and learn, organizations need skilled technical talent to stay competitive. Developing that talent and ensuring training is aligned to in-demand skills will take collaborative and intentional ingenuity that can only be accomplished when education, industry, and government work together.
- Collaborating with government to increase access to tech skills training
Agile and equitable upskilling and reskilling efforts are critical and can unlock opportunities for early career talent to enter the tech workforce and enable current workers to build new careers. Collaborating with government leaders enables training programmes to scale across countries, regions, and states to reach vast amounts of learners.
In Kenya, the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Authority, a state corporation under the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are creating new opportunities for Kenyan workers and expanding the funnel of local talent so businesses can thrive. ICT and AWS will upskill 10,000 students across ten universities using AWS Academy through this collaboration.
Many states are interested in rapidly growing their technology sector in the US. Their willingness to move fast to meet the demand creates a strong foundation to develop statewide training and education initiatives. Working closely with leaders to understand their workforce development needs, AWS offers a range of education programmes to help communities solve their skills gaps and build economic prosperity. AWS has launched more than 13 statewide initiatives between education systems, government agencies, policy leaders, economic development organizations, and employers to develop opportunities for thousands of residents to take advantage of various pathways to cloud jobs.
- Bridging the skills gap in curriculum
A culture of lifelong learning is the foundation for innovation and is driven both by formal education and other forms of training. When individuals embrace this approach, the idea that learning should end at some point is replaced with a lifelong learning mindset where the exploration of certifications, stackable credentials, real-world training programmes, and more are important. However, as individuals adopt new ways of learning over the course of their careers and lifetimes, education institutions need to adapt quickly to the fast-changing world we live in today. Education in partnership with industry can help better prepare learners for a digital economy through curriculum modernization.
The Regional Ministry of Education and Sports under Junta de Andalucía, the regional government of Andalusia in Spain, wanted to update its higher vocational IT degree for public education to match the real-world requirements of employers. In September 2021, the governing body launched a new cloud computing curriculum as part of its higher vocational IT degree training – the first regional agreement of its kind in Spain. Junta de Andalucía aligned its curriculum with content from AWS Education Programs and trained over 700 educators across Andalusia in cloud computing. The governing body plans to introduce 6,000 students across 105 schools to the curriculum by 2023.
- Building pathways to tech careers
The demand for skilled technical talent doesn’t just impact tech-focused enterprises. Organizations across various sectors and industries must fill roles in software development, cloud architecture, data science, cyber security, cloud support engineers, and more. Employers have an important role in this effort by advising, creating in-roads to open positions, and investing in the future workforce to ensure learners have the right skills to fill in-demand jobs.
In March 2023, AWS and Siemens started collaborating on tech apprenticeships in Germany. Siemens integrated cloud curriculum, hands-on labs, and gamified learning with AWS Skill Builder and AWS Cloud Quest into Siemens IT apprenticeships. This collaboration will also result in apprenticeships for two cloud data centre roles in Frankfurt, further expanding hands-on opportunities for learners and creating a funnel of career-ready talent for local companies.
- Accelerating learning through work-based skills training
Integrating skills-based learning into traditional education pathways allows learners to obtain credentials with practical skills that are highly relevant to employers. AWS powers Cloud Innovation Centers (CICs) across the world that are normally based at higher education institutions that enable students to engage in project-based learning. Learners develop and apply skills to have a direct impact on how public sector organizations operate and serve the community.
The University of British Columbia (UBC) CIC uses a practical approach to teaching computer science and technical skills by applying student innovation and a full range of cloud services to real-world problems in a process the university calls work-integrated learning. Students accepted into the UBC CIC co-op program spend four to eight months working on a project that impacts health, the environment, education, and other public interest issues.
These collaborative initiatives unite leaders around a common goal: addressing the global skills gap at scale. In each of these engagements, education institutions experienced a simplified process to modernize their tech curriculum, educators were equipped to start teaching new tech concepts better aligned to in-demand jobs, and learners gained hands-on experience to strengthen the tech talent pipeline for employers.
When we approach the global skills gap by addressing perspectives from education, government, and industry, we can create a multi-dimensional solution through various partnerships that meet unique needs.