Business

There's No Time Like Now To Upskill and Revitalise!

Malaysian youths, now’s your chance to improve for the future

There are two problems in Malaysia that are commonly talked about: economics and employability. 

Thus, Microsoft Malaysia and pioneering social enterprise, Biji-biji Initiative have collaborated to come up with the effort to support Malaysia in its economic and employability recovery.

In a modern era where technology and digital platforms play a huge role in a workforce, the two collaborating brands have unveiled the initiative to help empower Malaysians to excel in digital areas and thus the collaboration has bore fruit to launch a programme entitled “Digital Skills and Economy Employability Programme”. This programme aims to prepare Malaysian youths with a set of skills and tools that may prove to be essential to thrive in the gig economy.

This new initiative is also an addition to Microsoft’s existing Global Skilling Initiative with LinkedIn and GitHub which has reached the high number of 10 million engaged learners globally, including 36,000 Malaysians since it was announced.

The objective

The proliferation of digital platforms and an increase in preference for flexible work hours has coincided with the rise of the gig economy, emerging as a major source of employment for Malaysians; hence, the collaboration with Biji-biji Initiative. According to the World Bank, 25.1% of Malaysians are self-employed in 2020, and the numbers are expected to rise as more Malaysians favour freelance, project-based hires.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for upskilling and transformed the future of work for the Malaysian workforce. Addressing the skills gap that has resulted from the rapid acceleration of digital transformation today is an urgent task, and it is key to an inclusive economic recovery. Globally, Microsoft has announced its commitment to help 25 million people worldwide reskill for jobs in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. Our partnership with the Biji-biji initiative is an extension of this commitment, as we continue to explore new ways to empower Malaysians with the skills and tools they need to achieve more,” said K. Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia.

K. Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia

Becoming pillars for the Malaysian Gig Economy

Despite the gig economy being a free market system where temporary positions are common and hence provides a lot of employment opportunities, it can prove to be quite challenging to step into the scene without prior knowledge or experiences.

The Biji-biji Initiative aims to upskill 500 youths comprising graduates from the B40 communities and budding professional interests in building a viable gig career for their own benefit. This would not be possible without the strategic partnership with Microsoft, Petrosains along with gig community partners such as GoGet.my, Workana, Rtist Malaysia, TheKedua.com and Hero Kita.

With these partnerships, Biji-biji Initiative has managed to achieve an upskilling programme targeting individuals interested in establishing a sustainable and professional gig profile.

Participants of the programme will be able to have an all-rounded experience with a series of webinars and workshops on topics such as personal branding, project management and even financial management. These skills will be equipped into the participants inclusive of important networks needed to successfully kickstart a gig career. 

Of course, there’s always an interesting addition: 50 participants will win free vouchers for a professional Microsoft examination for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint and Microsoft Excel worth at 100 USD each!

Biji-biji Initiative CEO, Juliana Adam, cannot stress and emphasise enough on the essentiality of individuals equipping themselves with the right set of skills and knowledge before delving into the gig economy.

“We’ve seen a steady growth of gig workers in Malaysia, with many younger professionals stepping into this pool,” says Juliana. “We want to help them with the security of their future – in valuing and pricing their services right, managing financial security, as well as providing them with a vast array of certifications to further enhance their portfolio.”

“We hold the same vision with Microsoft in building a stronger future for professionals in the gig economy – the programme is a great start for individuals, especially in the B40 communities, to begin their journey as a gig worker.”

Juliana Adam, CEO of Biji-biji Initiative

Bridging the skills gap nationally and globally

Despite wanting to help youths kickstart their gig career, it’s not all about that. Looking beyond the gig economy, the Microsoft Global Skilling Initiative is an ambitious global effort to help 25 million people worldwide gain more digital skills in 2020.

Since the launch of the initiative three months ago, Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub have reached 10 million learners across 231 countries and territories through opportunity.linkedin.com. Across 21 markets in Asia Pacific alone, there have been close to 1,552,000 learners reached through the initiative.

Globally, Malaysia has been ranked 35th in its skilling progress as our nation has reached 36,000 learners. To add on, the most popular in-demand learning paths are Software Developer, Customer Service Specialist and Data Analyst worldwide.

Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia has stated that they will continue to work in collaboration with prospective stakeholders and partners, to empower people, communities and organisations in Malaysia. He also mentioned that skilling will continue to be a core priority for them at Microsoft, to drive societal progress and advance the digital capabilities of Malaysians for the future.

Here’s to a future with empowered and upskilled Malaysians for the benefit of the people and the nation!

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