Microsoft will equip 2 million Indians with AI skills by 2025

Microsoft will equip 2 million Indians with AI skills by 2025

Microsoft Corporation-indianbureaucracy
Microsoft Corporation-indianbureaucracy

In a recent visit to India, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, introduced company’s ambitious initiative – ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA. This major plan targets equipping 2 million individuals in India with artificial intelligence (AI) skills by 2025. As part of Microsoft’s broader Skills for Jobs program, the company has collaborated with governments, non-profits, businesses, and communities. For Microsoft, India represents a massive tech market with immense opportunities for technological growth. The goal is to expand its market presence, tap into and harness local talent while fulfilling its CSR objectives.

Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index showed that as AI grows, there’s a real need for new skills. About 90% of Indian leaders agree, saying people need skills to deal with AI. Surprisingly, 78% of Indian workers feel they lack the right AI skills for their jobs.

Knowing that a lot of real life happens in smaller towns and rural spots in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA will go beyond just the big cities. The plan is simple – make sure everyone, no matter where they are, can get in on the AI skills action. It’s about progress for everyone irrespective of the demographics.

Smt. Trishaljit Sethi, Director General (Training) at the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India, is a partner in the program and believes in AI innovation and its impact on shaping India’s future. The ministry has collaborated with Microsoft and others to upskill the masses. The goal is clear – empower the youth with skills that go beyond traditional training, reshaping how they work, connect, and tackle real-world challenges. The focus extends to institutions like ITIs, NSTIs, and skilling platforms, collectively driving the mission to advance India’s digital future. The commitment reaches far and wide, ensuring key sectors across the country embrace an AI-first and AI-ready approach.

Shri Puneet Chandok, President of Microsoft India & South Asia, shared the same perspective, regarding ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA as a significant move in democratising access to AI skills. He foresees India emerging as a global leader in AI, with this initiative serving as the driving force behind widespread fluency in the field.

Shri Ameya Vanjari, Chief Operating Officer at Tata STRIVE said, “Given the rising need for professionals in AI and security skills and the shortage of skilled talent especially in AI domain, building a diverse and inclusive talent pool is an imperative for organizations. Tata Strive is glad to partner with Microsoft in this skilling journey, training students and connecting them to job opportunities or internships, enabling growth opportunities for young women and girls. We are excited to help strengthen the ecosystem through sustained skilling efforts to bridge the skills gap, providing organizations with industry-ready talent.”

The ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA initiative will focus on three key areas to create AI fluency – Equipping India’s future workforce, upskilling government officials in AI and working to build the AI capability of nonprofit organisations.

Training the future workforce to harness AI’s potential 

  • Microsoft’s ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA initiative, in collaboration with India’s Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and 10 state governments, aims to offer basic and advanced AI training to 500,000 students and job seekers in 100 rural vocational education institutions.
  • Microsoft plans to provide AI technical skills training to 100,000 young women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities by  deploying 5,000 trainers at higher education institutions and leveraging the AI Trainer Toolkit Guide, they aim to strengthen programs in cloud, AI, and cybersecurity with AI credentials. Microsoft will also facilitate access to Azure AI services, encouraging tech solution development and industry collaborations for mentorship, internships, and job placements.
  • As part of the initiative, Microsoft will raise awareness of responsible AI use and AI-enabled careers for 400,000 students in schools in remote and tribal regions, enabling them to be next-generation AI innovators. This will be inline with Microsoft’s global initiatives: Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS)Farm Beats for Students, and the AI Guidance for Schools Toolkit for teachers.  

AI training of government officers to deliver next-generation citizen services 

In partnership with India’s National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building, Microsoft aims to equip 250,000 government officers with essential generative AI knowledge. This collaboration seeks to enhance productivity, transform digital governance in rural India, and enable investments in AI-enabled citizen services.

Enabling nonprofit organizations to accelerate their AI transformation and maximise social impact

Microsoft and LinkedIn will organise the India Nonprofit Leaders Summit in April 2024. The summit will empower 2,500 non-profits and NGOs to leverage AI skilling resources, impacting 750,000 learners, including underserved youths, young women, and jobseekers.

Microsoft will also provide nonprofits in India with access to the Microsoft Resources Hub and the LinkedIn for Nonprofits Resource Hub to help maximise their social impact and lead change in the AI era. 

In the past three years, Microsoft had already laid the foundation for this, it supports over 5,000 nonprofits in India with cloud and technology solutions. The technology giant had empowered more than 20,000 nonprofit employees to wield technology as a tool to accelerate their mission.

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