4th March 2021 – Microsoft was today joined by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD to launch StepIn2Tech, a training programme that aims to equip 10,000 people with the digital skills required to transfer to emerging and in-demand roles within the digital economy.
Developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, StepIn2Tech is designed to support anyone who is interested in developing their digital skills. It’s particularly focused on supporting those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and are now looking to reset their plans by pursuing new career opportunities in the digital economy. It will also support people who have either recently left school or college or are mid-career in an industry that is digitally transforming. The StepIn2Tech programme has been developed in partnership with Fastrack to IT and is supported by Prodigy Learning.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, said: “I’m delighted to join Microsoft today as the company launches StepIn2Tech. From remote learning and working from home to staying connected with friends and family, we all know how vital digital skills have become. My Department has put a focus on providing the supports required to help people to retrain and upskill so they can grow and succeed. The support of industry in this regard is exactly what we need.
“This innovative initiative by Microsoft will help support thousands most adversely affected by COVID-19 and offer them new opportunities to reskill and find employment within growing areas of the economy. I look forward to seeing its positive impact over the coming months.”
StepIn2Tech complements recently announced government re-skilling initiatives as it aims to bridge a growing skills gap within the Irish economy by providing online skills training that match the in-demand skills from industry. Importantly, it also provides one-to-one advice and mentoring from Fastrack to IT’s digi-chaperones and guidance and support from Microsoft employees on soft skills development such as interview techniques and CV writing. Each course is completed online and at a learner’s own pace. Participants will develop the technical and soft skills required to either gain an entry level role in the rapidly growing parts of the economy – either directly in a technology company or within traditional sectors that are becoming increasingly digitised. Many may choose to take a further step on their learning pathway by participating in some or all of the starter courses focused on productivity, coding, infrastructure, cloud, and design, deepening their knowledge and skill levels.
StepIn2Tech is the latest learning pathway to be added to Microsoft Ireland’s ‘Pathways for Life’ programme, which consists of a diverse range of educational and training initiatives that have been developed for people of all ages, experiences and ambitions to help them to participate fully in the digital economy. Microsoft Ireland has a long track record of investing in and developing digital education and training programmes, many of which are included within Pathways for Life. These include DreamSpace – an immersive STEM experience aimed at primary and secondary level students – PHD courses and numerous re-skilling and IT literacy initiatives tailored for people with varying educational qualifications and work experience – or none.
Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland, said: “The pandemic has resulted in thousands of people being displaced either temporarily or permanently from their jobs across the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors in particular. While managing public health remains a priority, there is also now a focus on driving an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery. The reality is that this recovery will have digital at its core as the economy is increasingly powered by technology. The acceleration in digital transformation of traditional and new companies and sectors over recent months has unlocked new areas of employment – ranging from digital marketing to cloud services.
“We have partnered with Fastrack to IT to create a bespoke reskilling programme with the support of Prodigy Learning that equips those recently made unemployed or temporarily displaced with the digital skills that match today’s and tomorrow’s in-demand jobs. For many people, they won’t previously have considered a role in technology. The StepIn2Tech courses are designed to show people that technology is now part of almost every job – and having even basic digital skills opens up loads of opportunities. This is about accessible learning, with plenty of supports for people who are new to the area.
“Our new StepIn2Tech initiative is the latest in a number of learning pathways that Microsoft Ireland has developed as part of our Pathways for Life education and training programme, which empowers learners – irrespective of their age, background or experience – to participate fully in Ireland’s digital economy through the development of their digital skills.”
Peter Davitt, CEO, Fastrack to IT, said: “Together with Microsoft, we recognised the need and were keen to proactively address the growing levels of unemployment and the digital skills gap in our economy. Through StepIn2Tech, we will provide jobs seekers and displaced workers with easily accessible digital skills training that will open up new career paths and opportunities. With a renewed sense of confidence and a new skill set developed over the course of the programme, participants can take their first steps to a digital career or continue on a digital skills learning pathway.”
For anyone wishing to take part in the StepIn2Tech programme, visit: www.fit.ie/stepin2tech.
About Microsoft Ireland
Microsoft Ireland employs over 2,500 people representing over 77 different nationalities operating out of the company’s campus in Leopardstown, Dublin and our Data Centre in Dublin. From software development, Microsoft International Operations, Finance, HR and Digital Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Ireland Sales and Marketing, we have an ambition to help everyone, through the power of technology, to achieve more.
About Fastrack to IT
Fastrack to IT (Fastrack to Information Technology) is a representative organisation of the technology sector committed to growing Ireland’s tech talent pipeline. Working in close collaboration with national education and training provision, it’s mission is to promote an inclusive Smart Economy by creating routes to marketable technical skills for job seekers and career changers wishing to pursue quality professions in Ireland’s thriving digital economy. In total, over 21,000 job seekers have completed FIT skills development programmes to date, of which in excess of 15,500 have secured quality employment.
Fastrack to IT is also the National Coordinator ICT Apprenticeships at NFQ Level 6 and is currently delivering three apprenticeships programmes in Network Engineering, Software Development and Cybersecurity with a fourth in Cloud Computing currently in development.
About Prodigy Learning
Prodigy Learning is an award-winning global EdTech business, providing innovative online platforms that enable learners to develop and prove their skills. The Company was established in 2000 and now has offices in Dublin, Ireland, London, UK, Sydney, Australia and New York, United States. To learn more, visit www.prodigylearning.com.