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DateWednesday, March 31, 2021

Digital Skills Training Extended

Microsoft and LinkedIn Extend Access to Free Learning Resources & Help 250,000 Firms Make Skills-based Hires in 2021


Commenting on the extension of the Global Skills Initiative with Microsoft, Sharon McCooey, Head of Linkedin Ireland, said companies must move to assess candidates on their skills and potential as much as their formal qualifications and direct work experience.

Microsoft, who employs 2500 people in Ireland, has said it is extending the availability of its Global Skills Initiative until the end of 2021, providing easier access to digital skills for those impacted by the pandemic and help fill vital skills gaps.


Since its launch June 2020, the Global Skills Initiative between Microsoft and LinkedIn claims to have helped over 30 million people worldwide to access digital skills learning resources to prepare for some of today’s most in-demand roles. The resources include free LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn courses and low-cost certifications in software development and full stack and frontend web development technologies such as Azure, Javascript, Python, HTML5, and CSS.


The extension of the initiative comes as new data* from LinkedIn finds that nearly a third (31%) of all new jobs started in Ireland last year during the pandemic, were by people moving into different industries or functions where they may not have had previous experience.


As career switching becomes more prevalent, Sharon McCooey (pictured above), Head of LinkedIn in Ireland, said companies must move to assess candidates on their skills and potential as much as their formal qualifications and direct work experience; “COVID-19 has forced some people to seek job opportunities in a different sector, and our data shows that those professionals are developing new technical and interpersonal skills to switch careers."

She added; “By taking a skills-based approach to hiring, employers can access a broader talent pool by prioritising capabilities and potential over their experience to date. That’s why we are continuing our commitment to help professionals everywhere learn new skills through our partnership with Microsoft."


To encourage employers to think differently about hiring practices, LinkedIn will provide new ways for job seekers to demonstrate their skills, and new tools for employers to connect to candidates based on their skill proficiencies including:

The pilot of LinkedIn Skills Path, a new way to help companies hire for skills. Skills Path brings together LinkedIn Learning courses with Skill Assessments to help recruiters source candidates in a more equitable way — based on their proven skills. LinkedIn is piloting Skills Path with various companies, including BlackRock, Gap Inc. and TaskRabbit, committed to broadening their hiring practices to better include candidates with diverse experiences.

New expressive, inclusive and personalised LinkedIn profile features will help people share more about themselves, their career and goals in a more authentic and engaging way. This includes a video Cover Story that allows job seekers to demonstrate their soft skills to recruiters and hiring managers.

Expanded access to LinkedIn’s Skills Graph will help create a common skills language for individuals, employers, educational institutions and government agencies to help improve workforce planning, hiring and development programs.



Meanwhile, Microsoft is to supplement LinkedIn’s work to promote far-reaching digital skills opportunities, with 'Career Coach', a Microsoft Teams for Education app powered by LinkedIn. The app provides personalised guidance for higher education students to navigate their career journey. Career Coach offers educational institutions a unified career solution for students to help them discover their goals, interests and skills using an AI-based skills identifier and LinkedIn integration that aligns a student’s comprehensive profile with job market trends and helps them grow real-world skills and connect with mentors and peers all in one place.


Microsoft Ireland MD Cathriona Hallahan, said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown where skills gaps exist.Microsoft Ireland MD, Cathriona Hallahan, said: “The past year has proven just how impactful technology and digital capabilities can be, but it’s also highlighted areas where gaps are emerging. The digital transformation witnessed over the past year now has to be maintained and to do that we need to ensure our workforces have the digital skills to keep pace.

These resources are designed for everyone – regardless of your career background or learning pathway. They don’t require digital capabilities or previous experience and are a free resource so I really hope people will take advantage of the materials to equip themselves with the in-demand skills required in the jobs market today.”


In Ireland, Microsoft and LinkedIn are partnering with Fastrack to IT (FIT), a representative organisation of the technology sector committed to growing Ireland’s tech talent pipeline, who will provide learners with access to the free digital skills courses as well as other learning resources provided by the company.


Peter Davitt, CEO, FIT added: “Over the past year we’ve seen a continued rise in the demand for digital skills within the jobs market. We’re always looking at new ways of engaging people, at all stages of the education and career journey, to advance their digital skills. We’re delighted to support Microsoft and LinkedIn on the local rollout of this initiative and hope many more will avail of the resources in the coming months.”




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Corporate Information





LinkedIn analysed data from its 2 million members in Ireland to understand the volume of new jobs started in Ireland last year, and the percentage of those jobs that were started by people moving into roles in functions or industries that were different to their previous function or industry. A “new job start” is defined as when a LinkedIn member changes their industry, function or title. We observe this when a member adds a new position to their LinkedIn profile.


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