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The 86 million: micro credentials key to tackling digital skills shortages

Peter Griffin, Editor. 01 September 2022, 9:15 am

There are around 86 million people across seven countries in the Asia Pacific region that will need digital skills training - in the next year.

That’s according to research by AlphaBeta and commissioned by Amazon Web Services, which held its Public Sector Summit in Canberra this week. Bridging the digital skills divide was a major theme of the conference, which saw public sector CIOs and IT managers from across Australasia gather to discuss governments’ use of cloud platforms as part of their digital transformations.

New Zealand has 1 million people needing to be upskilled in the immediate future, 35% of our workforce.

AlphaBeta says the need for digital skills training has accelerated in the wake of the pandemic, which saw everyone needing to adapt to the increased use of digital platforms. The study of 7,193 workers and 2,166 across Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Singapore found that 14% of the workforce around the region “will need to undergo training to keep pace with technological advancements and gain new digital skills to succeed in their careers”.

The only way that is achievable, AlphaBeta argues, is with greater use of workplace training and micro-credential schemes that make it easy for employees to upskill while managing their existing workload.

Cloudy outlook - AlphaBeta's view on the most in-demand skills

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“A limited awareness of the available training options is the most common barrier faced in pursuing digital skilling, with 72% of employers and workers in the seven countries citing this,” AlphaBeta reports.

A lack of time to pursue training is the second biggest factor preventing digital skills training, with 71% of survey respondents flagging it as a barrier.

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“To address this barrier, workers can take courses in modular, micro-skills that are available on-demand, while governments can work with industry to develop these micro-skills training courses,” AlphaBeta says.

The research also reveals a distinct gender divide when it comes to digital upskilling. For instance, the Australian findings reveal that:

  • Women are more aware of the need for digital skills training – eight in 10 say they have realised the importance of digital skills training because of the pandemic.
  • There is a gap between female (67%) and male workers (74%) who have undergone digital skills training since the pandemic, but female workers are more motivated to do so.
  • More than half (55%) of female workers who have not undergone any training indicate that they want to do so within the next year; 14 percentage points higher than the share of men looking to start.

Women it turns out are more motivated to upskill, but haven’t done so to the extent men have since the pandemic hit.

Skill builder subscriptions

AWS earlier this month launched its Skill Builder individual and team subscriptions to address the digital skills deficit.

“The subscriptions offer an entirely new way for individuals, customers, and AWS partners to learn with flexible, scalable, and highly-interactive digital cloud skills training and AWS Certification preparation, allowing them to develop cloud skills wherever and whenever they need,” AWS claimed earlier this month.

The Individual subscription starts at US$29 per month or an annual subscription of $299, which is added to a user’s monthly AWS bill. Team subscriptions are priced at US$449 per seat (for up to 100 seats, after which the pricing drops).

AWS says the subscriptions build on its existing Skill Builder library of over 500 free self-paced digital courses in cloud skills which help prepare users for AWS certification exams.


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