Microsoft vows to create 30,000 UK apprenticeships

Vendor declares post-Brexit commitment to UK – and pledges to triple the rate of apprenticeships it is creating with partners – as it hosts chancellor Phillip Hammond at its Reading HQ

Microsoft will today pledge to create another 30,000 UK digital apprenticeship roles in the UK as part of a new national skills programme.

The new scheme, which is being unveiled at an event with the chancellor Phillip Hammond at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading today, is designed to “boost digital skills and ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the global cloud-enable economy”.

Microsoft will commit to training, for free, 30,000 UK public servants in the delivery of digital services to citizens as part of the programme.

It will also pledge to create 30,000 new digital apprenticeship roles through the Microsoft programme, also by 2020.

Microsoft has to date worked with its 25,000 UK partners to deliver 11,000 digital apprenticeships, well above an original target of 4,000 set in 2012. The new 30,000 figure would represent a tripling of the current run rate, Microsoft said, adding that it aims to ensure higher proportions of women and minority groups are supported with the scheme.

In addition, the US-based software titan will today set out plans to train 500,000 people in the UK to be cloud technology experts through its Cloud Skills Initiative.

Microsoft’s former UK CEO Michel Van der Bel said in a letter to staff on the eve of last May’s Brexit vote that the “UK remaining in the EU supports important criteria for continued and future investment by Microsoft and others”.

However, in a statement accompanying today’s event, Microsoft’s current CEO Cindy Rose underlined the firm’s commitment to the UK.

“In the wake of the EU referendum vote, the UK is looking at charting a new and different path to its future and Microsoft is committed, as it has been for more than 30 years, to helping the UK realise its full potential,” she said.

“We believe that maintaining the UK’s global competitiveness relies on a successful transition to a cloud-enabled economy. At Microsoft, we aim to do our part by investing back into the UK digital economy to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive into the future.”

Hammond stated: “This is further evidence that Britain is one of the best places in the world to do digital business. Microsoft’s commitment to training, technology and apprenticeships will ensure that we remain at the cutting edge of innovation.

“Our technology industry is fundamental to securing future economic growth and this government is committed to ensuring it continues to thrive. It’s a key part of our Industrial Strategy to back Britain for the long term, creating the conditions where business can flourish, driving growth for the whole nation.”


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