Google leads digital skills drive

Google is joining hands with the public and private sectors to provide 22,000 scholarships under “Samart Skills”, a programme aiming to equip workers with digital skills for which demand is expected to reach 1 million by 2030.

The digital economy prompted an urgent need to bridge the digital skills gap and Google took this initiative by launching this programme in other countries within Asia-Pacific, including Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Indonesia and India.

Mike Jittivanich, marketing director for brand and reputation, Southeast Asia at Google, said Thailand’s internet economy will hit US$57 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2025.

Since the start of the pandemic, Thailand has added 9 million new digital consumers, of which 67% live in non-metropolitan areas.

According to a report by AlphaBeta, Thailand’s digital transformation could generate up to 2.5 trillion baht annually by 2030.

Around 78% of business leaders in Thailand have put digitalisation forward as a key strategy in 2021, while the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report 2020” showed that only 55% of workers in Thailand were literate in the required digital skills for future work.

Mr Mike said the Samart Skills scheme followed the Saphan Digital programme that helped over 100,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain digital skills.

“We want to ensure inclusive digital training opportunities so that all Thais are able to reap the benefits of this programme,” he said.

Saranee Boonritthongchai, country marketing manager at Google Thailand, said under the Samart Skills programme, 22,000 scholarships will be awarded to university and vocational students, as well as the general public to earn certificates at no cost.

The scholarships will be distributed through local partners, including over 100 educational institutions and the private sector, through companies such as AIS and True.

The courses for certificates in data analytics, IT support, project management, UX design and digital marketing and e-commerce are available on the online education platform Coursera.

The company is also partnering with universities to offer the cloud computing curriculum of Google Cloud Computing Foundations for undergraduates, where they will earn a skills badge.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said Thailand’s internet penetration rate was at 88% this year, according to the Office of National Digital Economy and Society Commission.

The research conducted by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company also forecast that Thailand’s digital economy will reach 1.9 trillion baht by 2025, he said.

“We need more digital talent to support the industry’s prospective leap. By 2030, the total demand for digital talent in Thailand will exceed 1 million workers,” said Mr Chaiwut.

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