Microsoft will help 1.5 million Brits build careers in tech by 2025

The Get On 2021 campaign aims to address the widening digital skills gap in the UK tech sector and drive competitiveness

Microsoft has launched a new campaign that aims to help 1.5 million UK citizens build careers in technology over the next five years.

Get On 2021, which is supported by KPMG, Unilever, and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), aims to address the widening digital skills gap in the UK tech sector as well as accelerate technology adoption, drive productivity, and enhance competitiveness.

The campaign aims to advance the skills of anyone interested in pursuing a career in tech, regardless of their previous experience. It is expected to benefit those new to the industry and still in education, as well as tech professionals who are looking to embrace new business models and technologies to drive organisations forward.

Speaking at Microsoft’s Envision UK event, Microsoft UK CEO Clare Barclay said that the company wants “to help people get the right skills to thrive in technology careers, and employers find the right talent to help drive business success and UK prosperity”.

“With hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs and some traditional sectors heavily impacted, we urgently need to invest in UK technical skills and capability to help realise our competitive potential,” she added. “Together we can build a future based on long-term sustainable growth.”

The launch of Get On 2021 comes as Microsoft found that the UK requires over three million skilled people in technology careers over the next five years.

A graph titled "Estimated capacity for technology jobs by 2025", showing Software development at over 2 million, Data analysis, machine learning, and AI at just under 0.5 million, Cloud and Data roles at just over 0.5 million, and Cyber security at 0.2M

The technology giant partnered with academics at Goldsmiths, University of London to devise a new model of competitiveness which scored almost half (46%) of UK firms in the lowest quadrant. 

Moreover, 54% of surveyed UK organisations admitted to seeing a decrease in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, with 22% experiencing a drop greater than 15%. A further 22% had been forced to scrap an existing business model within days of entering the UK’s first lockdown in March. 

Meanwhile, 45% of leaders said that they believe that their current business model will cease to exist by 2025 – an increase of 12% over the past year. 

However, the model devised by Microsoft and Goldsmiths identified more than £48 billion of opportunity if UK leaders enhance their organisations’ digital competitiveness through sustainable growth practices. This value is expected to further increase under the condition that organisations drive longer-term investment in competitiveness. 

The UK’s secretary of state for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey said she is “delighted with Microsoft’s announcement of Get On 2021, boosting the confidence and skills of young people starting their careers and helping experienced workers to upskill or switch jobs”. 

“This kind of support – acting locally and in partnership with industry – is not only vital to the future of jobseekers, but also to the success of the UK economy as we build back better.

"It is extremely encouraging that this will complement our comprehensive package of support through our £30 billion Plan for Jobs – with our Kickstart scheme providing hundreds of thousands of good quality jobs for young people and our new JETS programme giving people who have recently become unemployed the helping hand they need to get back into work.”

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