Technology companies Google, Cisco Systems, Lazada, Microsoft, SEA Ltd, GrabTaxi, and PT Tokopedia plan to train some 20 million people in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Asean to develop their digital skills by 2020.
The pledge to train the people is part of World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Digital Asean initiative, the forum said in a statement yesterday.
The pledge called ‘Asean Digital Skills Vision 2020’ is to establish a regional movement among businesses committed to empower individuals through skilling, re-skilling and upskilling.
It not only increases 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 in building a future-focused workforce.
The forum said the initiative’s aim is to work on issues that underpin a regional digital economy in Asean by unlocking the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.
The initiative also includes 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’ where companies invite students and the public to visit their offices to learn about the character of the jobs of the future.
There will also be internship opportunities for Asean university students, initiatives to train digital regulators, and shape the curricula of technology and computing courses at 20 Asean universities.
“The fourth industrial revolution is unfolding at an accelerating speed and changing the skills that workers will need for the jobs of the future,” said Justin Wood, WEF Asia Pacific head and executive committee member.
The pledge is open to all companies to join with seven companies being the first to commit.
Google has pledged to train three million SME employees throughout Asean while four companies would train another 5.63 million workers.
Some 1.04 million Asean citizens will be able to participate in Digital Inspiration Days whereas Microsoft, SEA and Tokopedia would hire 18,000 interns, with Microsoft promising to employ another 8,500 digital workers in the region by 2020.
Google India and South East Asia vice president Rajan Anandan said the region could see an increase of $1 trillion in gross domestic product using its digital economy to accelerate intra-regional trade and growth by 2025.
“SMEs would be key to this growth and their digital workforce would be the change agents in their communities. We are committed to supporting this region’s digital economy,” he added.