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150,000 J’cans to benefit from 5-year digital skills programme


MORE than 150,000 Jamaicans are to benefit from a five-year digital skills programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Microsoft.

A memorandum of understanding for the partnership was signed last week at the ministry’s National Heroes’ Circle offices in Kingston.

The objective is to equip persons with the digital skills needed to fill in-demand jobs.

Portfolio minister, Fayval Williams, said that approximately 31,000 people will be trained each year up to 2026, gaining valuable skills to participate in a digital future.

She said that more than 62 trainers will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to impart training to the participants.

“The aim is to have these persons trained in one or more of the four courses offered, based on their level of learning. There is no age limit, and there will be no barriers to entry,” she noted.

The education ninister said that the programme, which will improve the employment prospects of the beneficiaries “is most welcomed” as the novel coronavirus pandemic has taught valuable lessons about the benefits of a digitised society.

“We commend Microsoft Jamaica for this very important outreach, which they are funding, and the importance of this initiative can not be overstated,” she said, noting that the digital economy has created new opportunities in a lot of areas.

Country Representative for Microsoft Yamile Bustamante explained that the global training programme is in response to the challenges created by the pandemic, including job loss.

She said that some of these jobs will return in different forms as companies transform and rebound, and persons will have to be trained to fill those positions.

As such, she said that Microsoft has taken an “active role” through its Digital Skills Programme in partnering with countries around the world to close the digital gaps.

“Through this initiative, we seek to bring digital platforms close to people from all ages and different backgrounds, so that they can gain new technological knowledge,” she said.

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