Microsoft with UNESCO and partners surpass target milestone in “Accelerating Thailand” digital skills program
Programme accomplishes target under overall effort to enhance digital skills for more than 10 million
New phase of programme aims to make an impact for 180,000 workers in 2022
Bangkok, 4 April 2022 – Microsoft Thailand has announced key achievements from the first phase of “Accelerating Thailand” – a digital upskilling programme for Thai workers by Microsoft in collaboration with partners from public and private sectors – after having enhanced the capabilities of 280,000 Thais with digital skills through offline and online channels. This achievement has exceeded Microsoft’s previously set goal of 250,000 local workers, a target originally announced at the programme’s launch in December 2020. Coming up in 2022, the company is set to kick off the second phase of the programme, which aims to unleash workers’ potential and create employment opportunities for 180,000 additional participants as an ongoing pandemic continues to curtail full employment for many workers in the country.
According to Thailand’s Social Outlook Report for the third quarter of 2021, compiled by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), there were 37.7 million employed persons that quarter, a figure that represents a 0.6 percent decrease from the same period in 2020, while the unemployment rate was at its highest, with 870,000 people on record as unemployed last year. However, there is still ample room for growth given current favorable factors in the country. For example, Thailand’s increasingly online world is driving demand for digital marketers, and big data is playing a vital role in boosting business and government productivity, as well as helping both sectors make more informed decisions. In addition, the global skills gap is fueling a fiercely competitive talent market, resulting in emerging roles such as talent acquisition specialists and human resources business partners, as companies look to firm up their talent and identify hard-to-find niche skills. In Thailand, the top 10 emerging jobs in 2020 are data scientist, back-end developer, data engineer, full stack engineer, product owner, data analyst, user experience designer, talent acquisition specialist, digital marketing specialist, and front-end developer.
Since the launch of the Accelerating Thailand programme in December 2020, Microsoft Thailand, in collaboration with seven partners from public and private sectors, namely Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa); Department of Skill Development; Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education; Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (Public Organization); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); JobsDB Recruitment (Thailand) Limited; and Thai Fund Foundation, has empowered 280,000 youth and adults through the programme’s digital skills trainings. Additional key achievements include;
- 100,000+ non-formal education learners through CLC centers, 66 per cent of whom are women, have received training through the programme, resulting in greater employment opportunities and greater self-confidence of employees in their work;
- 80,000+ learners have seen increased learning opportunities;
- 14,000+ learners report having experienced personal and family development;
- 4,500 learners have further developed their current profession;
- 4,500 learners report gaining extra-income;
- 1,900 learners report having started a new career; and
- Nearly 180,000 learners report having participated in the project’s online courses, among all partners’ online platforms which open to all students under this initiative, as well as to the general public, at no cost. Those who successfully complete the courses will receive a project certificate.
Mr Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director of Microsoft Thailand, has commented, “On behalf of Microsoft Thailand, I would like to thank all the partners who have given us their full support to drive this programme forward and who have thus contributed to our success in the first phase. For the second phase, we are committed to empowering an additional 180,000 Thai workers by the end of 2022, to upskill and reskill them for better career opportunities in the future. We believe that this programme has already proven its merits in creating better paths forward for participating professionals, and we will continue to build on the success of the programme amidst the pandemic and the corresponding rise in unemployment. We believe that digital technology and tools can play a central role in fostering a more inclusive skills-based labor market and help to positively enhance livelihoods across the country.”
Mr Wanlop Sanguannam, Acting Secretary General, Office of the Non-Formal and Information Education (ONIE), has commented, “With the pandemic accelerating the growth of e-commerce, we have modified our learning courses to match the current trends for our programme participants with the addition of social media marketing and selling courses that cover a wide range of content – from target consumer analysis to content creation for online commerce. We also focus on providing basic knowledge of cybersecurity to help businesses run their online sectors more safely and effectively. This is aligned with our policies to provide knowledge for people of all ages, as the programme was created to truly serve people of all levels. We are committed to creating talented professionals who have capabilities and digital skills to support the workforce development strategy and drive digital culture for the government as part of the journey towards e-government and Thailand 4.0.”
Mr Ratthasart Korrasud, PhD, Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer of Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), has stated, “Through our partnership with Microsoft, we have provided free online training courses, drawing the most attention from our participants. The learning modules enable people of all learning levels and ages to access and understand the content more readily. depa is committed to developing and enhancing the potential of Thai people to match the current demand of industries involving digital technologies, ultimately to create better job opportunities and drive the country’s human capital forward. We will also continue to serve as a platform for digital upskilling and a digital workforce community that opens up new career opportunities via future job skilling.”
Mr Shigeru Aoyagi, Director of the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok), has commented of the programme, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education of around 760 million students across the Asia-Pacific region, resulting in widening inequality. Progress toward the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is not on track; therefore, we need to rethink education and distribute more resources to marginalized populations.” In response to an ever-increasing need for upskilling and reskilling amid the pandemic and post-pandemic eras, UNESCO will continue to work closely with all partners to promote digital competencies and access to transformative lifelong learning opportunities for youth and adults in Thailand, as well as across the Asia-Pacific region, to support their livelihoods, well-being, and individual and community sustainability.”
Microsoft Thailand continues to provide skill-enhancing training content, videos and Thai language manuals on the use of Microsoft 365 at an intermediate level, which is in line with the required skills for the current jobs in demand. The courses include Basic Cyber Security, E-Commerce Content Creation with Microsoft Sway, Word Intermediate, Excel Intermediate and PowerPoint Intermediate.
The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) will also support the online channel and platform to boost accessibility through this network. Learners can now access to all 5 courses of the second phase on https://www.youtube.com/c/depaThailand and will expand to other depa platforms for further digital skill development. In addition, UNESCO has joined forces with the Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education (ONIE) to provide training for teachers in the ONIE centers and will encourage the training content to be conducted in the programme to reach out to far-flung youth, both domestically and abroad, through UNESCO’s own lifelong learning platform. This year the website has been redesigned to provide Microsoft digital skill courses in Thai language, at www.lll-olc.net/th, which encourages young people and adults to continue learning throughout their lives to address and adapt to an individual’s evolving learning needs. For ONIE learners can reach for more courses at ONIE in every subdistrict.
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For further information:
Hill+Knowlton Strategies Thailand
Tel: 0-2627-3501 ext. 213 or 081-694-9949
Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development, UNESCO Bangkok
Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development, UNESCO Bangkok
 Source: How Thailand is Using Big Data to Power the Government by Tech in Asia