"We believe a fourth industrial revolution is under way - one driven by the transformative power of cloud technologies," Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK Chief Executive.
Those who attended the UK Regional session at Microsoft Inspire will have heard Hugh Milward, Microsoft UK Director, Corporate External & Legal Affairs, echo this statement. Driven by the cloud, we are poised on entering this new era, which will have huge impacts across industries and for the UK economy.
Yet as with any revolution, the potential for immense growth and mass change is accompanied by significant implications. With 3 in 4 companies, and 38% of Microsoft's traditional partners, struggling to recruit the critical skills needed to support their digital transformation strategies, there is an evident skills gap amongst industries at the forefront of this revolution.
Furthermore, with the pace at which technology is advancing (Azure on average has a new release every 36 hours), a new approach is needed for not only how we obtain, but how we continue to develop and retain the skills needed.
How can Microsoft provide my business - as well as me - with the skills I need?
It's clear from the above that classroom training alone isn't enough; training needs to be readily accessible, and continually refreshed. Microsoft is committed to investing in the digital skills needed for today, and for the future. We recently launched the Azure skills initiative, containing free 20-hour long Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that cover everything from Azure fundamentals to testing and big data. You can also take things one step further with our Microsoft Professional Program, with three 52 week-long courses covering data science, front-end web development and big data.
How can I use training to add value to my customers?
By hosting our Azure skills initiative on the open EdEx platform, we offer partners the opportunity to take this content and create annuity based training / skills development programmes that you can attach to your cloud offerings for customers. Watch the video below to hear how one of our Microsoft learning partners, Fast Lane, has brought this to life to create a new, differentiated commercial proposition.
How can I bring in new talent to meet my growth aspirations?
Our Apprentice Programme also plays a huge part in building out new skills and talent. Over the last 10 years we have seen 15,000 individuals enter the technology workplace, with many of our partners benefitting from bringing apprentices into their business to build out critical cloud skills.
There have been a number of recent changes to how the apprentice programme works, and with topics such as Azure, data science, Dynamics 365. as well as Level 3 (A-level equivalent) right up to degree level apprenticeships now covered, there has never been a better time to look at how apprentices can help you build out your talent pool.
Make the pledge and secure new talent
Our Partner Pledge encourages partners to take on apprentices and help give promising and motivated people a vital first step in the IT industry. Simply pledge the number of apprentices you're willing to take in and we will put you in touch with an apprentice provider who will help you plan for each step of bringing new talent into your business.
For further resources to help grow your business, visit microsoft.com/uk/partner/priorities/out more and make your pledge today.