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Microsoft 'ecosystem' to create 86,000 jobs in Singapore by 2026 as skills, sustainability initiatives launched

Microsoft 'ecosystem' to create 86,000 jobs in Singapore by 2026 as skills, sustainability initiatives launched

Microsoft Singapore's managing director Lee Hui Li (extreme right) and ITE CEO Low Khah Gek (extreme left) with students from the work-study diploma programme working at the Microsoft Data Center. (Photo: Microsoft Singapore)

SINGAPORE: More than 86,000 new jobs will be created by Microsoft, its ecosystem of partners and customers in Singapore by 2026, of which more than 50,000 will be skilled IT jobs.

Microsoft announced these figures on Thursday (Nov 17) as it launched two new partnerships with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) focusing on skills development and sustainability respectively.

The Datacenter Academy, Microsoft's collaboration with ITE, is a five-year commitment from 2023 to equip about 300 ITE students with applied data centre skills. It is one of 12 Datacenter Academy locations globally.

From January, the curriculum will be offered to students across all three ITE Colleges from the work-study diploma programmes in data centre infrastructure and operation, mechanical and electrical services supervision, and logistics and supply chain management.

The curriculum aligns closely with the core competencies required for data centre roles across the tech sector focused on data centre infrastructure management, IT support, troubleshooting and mechanical
services, said a joint press release from ITE and Microsoft.

It also includes experiential training across areas including artificial intelligence, data analytics, automation and cybersecurity.

The public-private partnership between Microsoft and IMDA will see them work together to address climate-related issues and improve sustainability outcomes for digital technologies, according to a press release from IMDA.

This will involve sharing learnings, certification pathways, best practices, and standards for effective measurement and reporting of carbon emissions arising from software applications.

IMDA and Microsoft will be creating a joint framework that outlines guidance for the development of sustainable software. The framework will be applied through Microsoft's Singapore GreenTech Challenge for local developers and shared globally when ready.

The partnership will also encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt sustainable technology solutions, enabling them to measure, track and report their emissions more easily.

In an interview with CNA, local managing director Lee Hui Li described sustainability as Microsoft Singapore's "north star" and also highlighted cybersecurity, accessibility, and closing the gap between skills and employability, as key pillars in the company's strategy.

Ms Lee said Microsoft wanted to be part of an ecosystem driving "more meaningful innovation" in Singapore, with technology having the potential to act as a "deflationary force" in an inflationary market environment.

"Especially in this climate, with inflation, with supply chain challenges, everybody's looking at how can I be more productive? How can I do more with less?" she said.

Asked about what recent mass layoffs at tech companies meant for tech professionals, Ms Lee said opportunities in Singapore and the region remained and had expanded after the pandemic drove digital transformation.

She said Microsoft wanted to help build the tech talent pool to meet this demand. In particular, the Datacenter Academy with ITE aims to groom "non-degree tech talents" and create pathways to higher-paying roles in the sector.

Turning to sustainability, Ms Lee said this might not be "top of mind" for SMEs, but that was what informed the partnership with IMDA to look at how Microsoft could help businesses find sustainable solutions.

Mr Jeth Lee, Microsoft Singapore's lead for legal and government affairs, said part of the equation was to provide developers with the tools to think about the principles for making an application more sustainable.

The other part of the equation was working with the Government to make it "frictionless and easy" for more SMEs to implement sustainability solutions, he said.

These efforts will involve sustainable solutions such as the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, and advice on governance frameworks like sustainable operating models or compliance structures to help SMEs measure, track and report their carbon emissions.

Ms Lee said Microsoft is also continuing to partner with customers in change management in the workplace, including the use of technology to drive diversity and inclusion by enabling hybrid work arrangements, cross-border teams and well-being at work.

Source: CNA/dv(mi)

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