Microsoft to offer free online training to 50,000 unemployed in NL


Microsoft plans to help some 50,000 jobless people in the Netherlands boost their digital skills via online courses over the next year, Microsoft Nederland director Ernst-Jan Stigter has told the Financieele Dagblad in an interview.

The Dutch unemployment rate is forecast to reach 6% next year, double the level at the beginning of 2020. At the same time, research by Microsoft subsidiary LinkedIn, which has some eight million accounts in the Netherlands, shows a 150% increase in the average number of applications for any given job.

However, the demand for people with IT skills is two to three times higher than the supply, the FD said. ‘Many people who are going to lose their job do not have the right skills to move to jobs or sectors with a future,’ Stigter said.

Now the company is offering courses of between five and 30 hours free of charge, apart from a €12.50 fee for a certificate.

The LinkedIn research shows there is a shortage of qualified staff in a number of key sectors, not all of which would appear to require digital skills. ‘In one sense, all companies are becoming software firms and each job has a digital component,’ Stigter said.

Employers, he said, are therefore searching for people with a wide range of capabilities, with communication and management skills, as well as problem-solving abilities, top of the list.

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