IBM unit, partners to boost digital skills

IBM unit, partners to boost digital skills

IBM Thailand, the local unit of the American IT giant, is working with universities and business partners to provide training for people to level up high-demand digital skills, ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) to data science and hybrid cloud, as part of a push to support the country's digital transformation.

"Digital transformation is increasingly becoming one of the most important levers in GDP growth for countries," said Agnes Heftberger, general manager of IBM Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Korea.

"The latest advances in AI and related innovations are also expanding the frontiers of the digital revolution."

According to IT market research firm IDC, 65% of global GDP is expected to be digitalised by 2022.

Investment in digital transformation is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5% from 2020 to 2023, when it is expected to reach US$6.8 trillion, IDC indicated.

"Thailand is one of the leading countries in Asia Pacific where we have continuously witnessed the execution of digital transformation projects, as well as significant adoption of disruptive technologies such as AI, data science and hybrid cloud by businesses," said Ms Heftberger.

Sawat Asdaron, managing director of IBM Thailand, said AI, hybrid cloud, data science, automation and cybersecurity are new areas that are in high demand by businesses.

"Skilled IT workforce is a key enablement for digital transformation," he said.

Citing the World Economic Forum, Mr Sawat said closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. The shortage of workforce with technology skills is expected to reach 4.3 million by 2030, he noted.

To address urgent need for those with digital skills, IBM Thailand is partnering with Burapha University, Chulalongkorn University, Panyapiwat Institute of Management and Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology to organise training courses to build a high-demand digital skill workforce.

NTT Data Thailand, a business and technology solution provider, is the first business partner to collaborate with IBM under this initiative.

"This ongoing collaboration continues to grow and scale up, with more universities and ecosystem partners joining forces with IBM to make this happen," said Mr Sawat.

"We originally planned to be able to provide job-ready skills to hundreds of students in four pilot universities, but now that more universities and business partners are joining, we foresee more than 1,000 students benefiting from this initiative by the end of 2022."

Kotaro Oshio, director of operations at NTT Data Thailand, said the company signed a cooperation agreement with Burapha University to implement the NTT DATA Critical Resource Preparation Programme, geared towards building qualified and quality IT professionals for the job market, who will become an important force in the development of Thailand's financial industry.

The programme collaborates with IBM under the IBM Academic Initiative to develop knowledge and skills related to Cobol programming, mainframe and hybrid cloud systems by providing courses and training throughout the semester.

Ms Heftberger said building a skilled IT workforce is core to IBM's agenda, and this initiative will be fully supported by IBM.

"This includes resources, funding to make this programme work in a sustainable way, and more learning opportunities like knowledge sharing by IBM's experts or researchers."

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