Microsoft Ireland today announced that more than 6,000 people have taken their first StepIn2Tech by signing up to participate in the digital skills training programme that was launched in collaboration with Fastrack to IT (FIT) just over one year ago.
StepIn2Tech was initially developed by Microsoft Ireland in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in an effort to equip 10,000 learners over a two-year period with the digital skills required to gain in-demand jobs in the digital economy. The initiative also supports those who have either recently left school or college or are mid-career and interested in developing their digital skills.
Through StepIn2Tech, learners can participate in up to five starter courses focused on productivity, coding, infrastructure, cloud, and design, helping to deepen their knowledge and skills levels in these areas. Each StepIn2Tech course is free to access and can be completed online at the learner’s own pace and with the guidance and support of FIT’s team of digi-chaperones.
On completion of one or more of the StepIn2Tech starter courses, graduates are invited to participate in the StepIn2Tech mentoring programme, which Microsoft Ireland employees are delivering, in order to develop the soft skills that are required to maximise new employment opportunities. As part of the programme, Microsoft Ireland employees provide one-to-one advice and guidance on interview techniques and CV writing. Over 400 learners have completed the mentoring programme so far with 84 Microsoft employees volunteering almost 3,000 hours between them to date.
Free training places remain available through StepIn2Tech as the initiative embarks on its second year.
James O’Connor, Microsoft Ireland Site Lead and Vice President of Microsoft International Operations, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see that over 6,000 people have engaged with StepIn2Tech, one of a number of education and training initiatives that Microsoft Ireland has developed to empower learners – irrespective of their age, background or experience – to participate fully in Ireland’s digital economy.
“With the World Economic Forum predicting that 90% of all jobs will require digital skills by 2030, it’s crucial that dedicated pathways are made available for people to acquire the training and skills needed to access the increasingly technology-based job opportunities of today and tomorrow. It’s inspiring to hear about the experiences of StepIn2Tech graduates, such as Ilona, and to see how their lives and career paths have been enhanced through this programme. By empowering people to acquire digital skills, StepIn2Tech is aiding the transition to a digital-first economy, which must be inclusive for all.”
Speaking about her experience of StepIn2Tech, Ilona Tkachenko, said: “Quite soon after the pandemic hit, I was made redundant from my job and found myself at home with my family minding my two kids. As we navigated our way through that strange time, I came across this advertisement for total IT beginners to start a cyber security course. That turned out to be StepIn2Tech. The course worked brilliantly for me as I was able to do it at my own pace and, with the support of the FIT digi-chaperones. I really surprised myself with everything that I learned, and how much I wanted to keep learning and keep discovering. At the end of the course, I graduated with certificates in security fundamentals and CompTIA Security. I also engaged in the Microsoft mentoring sessions, which have been invaluable in helping me to prepare for job opportunities. I’m currently interviewing for a number of security operations analyst positions and am hoping to secure a job very soon. StepIn2Tech has opened up a whole world of opportunities for me and I’d encourage anyone who is out of work or looking to change career to take that first step.”
Peter Davitt, CEO, Fastrack to IT, said: “We’re delighted that more than 6,000 people have signed up to, quite literally, take their first step into technology since the launch of StepIn2Tech one year ago.
“With learners coming from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors that had been negatively impacted by the pandemic, such as hospitality and retail, StepIn2Tech has proven that it can help people to develop their digital skills and avail of either new career opportunities in the digital economy or take further steps on their learning pathway. We’re very grateful to Microsoft Ireland for collaborating with us on the development of this programme and look forward to supporting many more learners through the StepIn2Tech course and mentoring programme over the coming year.”
For more information on #StepIn2Tech or to register to participate in the programme, visit: https://fit.ie/stepin2tech/.