UK lawmakers welcome Microsoft's sack of training pressies for hard-pressed Brits as jobs searches spike

New skills aplenty and Teams tweaks from Uncles Brad and Satya

Kind old Microsoft is discounting certifications in its technology and making access to training via LinkedIn free as businesses swing the axe in the post-lockdown world.

UK workers "are facing the toughest jobs market in a generation," according to Microsoft tentacle LinkedIn, as roles are cut and hiring slows. The biz networking biz claimed the number of applications to would-be employers from its users is already three times lower than the level it saw last year, with the recreation and travel industries particularly badly hit.

Aiming at giving 25 million people the opportunity to pick up new skills while they work from home, Microsoft and LinkedIn also flung open the doors to 500 LinkedIn Learning courses (until March 2021).

The Windows giant's code shack, GitHub, will continue providing access to modules around tech, coding and the dark arts of Git. Microsoft Learn also has over 1,000 modules up for grabs, although the latter obviously features quite a bit of BSOD Bob's tech.

The UK government today cheered on the initiative, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak stating the obvious: "Re-skilling and re-training are key parts of our Covid recovery programme and digital skills will form a crucial part of that."

Alarmingly, Sir Peter Estlin, chair of FutureDotNow, noted that "17.2 million people in the UK currently don't have the basic digital skills to support them both at home and at work" while applauding Microsoft's initiative.

LinkedIn has helpfully listed the top 10 digital roles with the most openings and found that the likes of "software developers" continue to be sought after, but sadly the website didn't specify the actual technology employers most desired.

We'd suggest a quick trip to one of the many IT job sites to get a feel for what is in demand these days, and your friends at Vulture Central will also list any that come our way.

As well as lobbing out freebies on LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft Learn, Microsoft is also throwing $20m in grants (along with tech support) at nonprofits around the world with the expectation that some five million unemployed workers will be helped.

It is also heavily discounting some of its role-based certifications (those that "demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft technologies") to $15 for an exam (down from the usual $100+) for those able to "self-attest" that their employment has been affected by COVID-19. The exams can be scheduled from September until the end of 2020 and must be completed by 31 March 2021.

Finally, employers using Teams will soon receive a preview of a learning app within the collaboration platform later this year. The app will bring in content from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn (as well as other providers) to sharpen the existing skills of employees and help in acquiring new ones. ®

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