Upskilling Asia Pacific to stay competitive in the digital economy

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THE pace of digital transformation happening across Asia Pacific (APAC) is as exciting to witness as it is to support. However, rapid technological changes are contributing to a widening digital skills gap that must be addressed to unlock the region’s full economic potential, especially in the face of challenging economic times.

To prepare for the challenges in 2023, it is more important than ever for governments, industry, and education institutions to work together to make skills training a priority. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is focused on helping close the skills gap, and the company just announced that they have already trained over 5 million people across APAC with cloud skills since 2017. “While we’re proud to reach this important milestone, our work doesn’t stop here. We are deeply committed to our training mission, and we know reskilling and upskilling will make workers more efficient, organizations more productive, and economies more robust in the coming year,” according to Andrew Sklar, Director of AWS Training and Certification in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) for AWS.

As more organizations move their IT infrastructure to the cloud to become more productive, Sklar expects the adoption of cloud computing, machine learning, data analytics, and cybersecurity across every industry will fuel a vast number of new jobs and contribute to economies of all sizes. “These technical roles across our customers and partners are crucial to helping organizations remain competitive and productive as the global economy cools,” Sklar pointed out.

Cloud technology is helping organizations become more productive, too, he said. Research by AWS Cloud Economics shows that AWS customers in APAC – across commercial and public sectors – who migrated to AWS are seeing an acceleration in innovation, with an approximate 28-percent reduction in time-to-market for new features and applications, and about a 40-percent increase in employee efficiency.  

Upskilling the Existing Workforce at Scale

Technology makes innovation possible, but it’s people who get the work done. Research from AlphaBeta, commissioned by AWS, shows that all workers stand to benefit from digital skills training. Non-tech workers report benefitting from greater efficiency (88 percent), increased promotion opportunities (62 percent), and improved employability (76 percent). Most tech workers also benefit from greater efficiency (86 percent), increased salary (76 percent), and greater job satisfaction (82 percent).

Sklar said that for organizations looking to accelerate cloud transformation to become more productive, AWS Skill Builder Team subscriptions builds on their existing Skill Builder platform of 500+ free, self-paced, digital courses. This subscription service, he said, provides access to exclusive and highly interactive AWS cloud training. Many of the courses are available in Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and simplified and traditional Chinese,” he explained.

Additionally, Sklar said they heard from customers that they need training content tailored to specific industry needs. AWS Industry Quest, launching at the AWS re:Invent learning conference in November, provides the solution. As part of the paid digital subscription, AWS Industry Quest uses interactive, game-based learning to help learners and organizations build industry solutions on AWS. The first version is focused on the financial services industry and helps professionals learn and build solutions for fraud protection, grid computing for capital markets, serverless checking accounts, and more. He said that National Australia Bank (NAB) already signed up as a global beta customer. 

For organizations looking for something beyond a do-it-yourself approach and require a program designed in collaboration with AWS, Sklar said they offer AWS Skills Guild, a comprehensive cloud skills training program tailor made for an organization’s unique skilling needs that have already seen some great results!

Building a Diverse Talent Pool

Industries and governments can build a diverse talent pool by developing micro-skills training courses that help workers upskill quickly, find employment, and bridge skills gaps to drive economic growth.  

Sklar said their AWS re/Start is a free 12-week program that helps unemployed and underemployed individuals with little to no tech experience build entry-level cloud computing skills and get connected with employers. To date, Sklar said they’ve launched AWS re/Start in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Based in the Philippines, Eric Relleve quit his previous job and was unemployed for a while, but he was determined to pursue a career in tech. After graduating from AWS re/Start, Relleve’s life and career did a 180-degree turn as he got a job as a Cloud Engineer at Fujitsu. Globally, the program connects over 98 percet of graduates with job interview opportunities and Eric’s story is testament to that.  

Nurturing the Talent of the Future 

Sklar said they’re also on a mission to create equitable learning opportunities for their diverse population in APJ and make them accessible to all. AWS Academy provides higher education institutions with free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curricula that prepare students to pursue industry-recognized AWS Certifications and in-demand cloud jobs that will advance economies throughout the region.

AWS Educated provides individuals as young as 13 free, self-paced training resources to build cloud skills on demand. Learners can access hundreds of hours of training and resources in English, simplified Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. 

Making Innovation Possible Despite Economic Headwinds

With the skills gap widening and the global economy slowing, employers must urgently upskill and reskill their workers. “We will continue to invest in our training programs to meet the growing demand for skills in cloud computing, machine learning, and other emerging technology that will help our region weather financial turbulence,” Sklar emphasized.

He said AWS remains deeply committed to working alongside governments, institutions, and industries to boost digital capabilities and help close the skills gap by offering a broad range of training solutions that work for every learner. “Despite the economic headwinds, working together, we can ensure workers become digitally-savvy to help drive business growth and make everyone a part of securing our region’s continued prosperity.” 

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