Microsoft Malaysia has launched the “Digital Skills and Gig Economy Employability Programme” in collaboration with the Biji-biji Initiative, geared towards equipping Malaysian youths with future ready skills and tools needed to thrive in the gig economy.
This new initiative is in addition to Microsoft’s existing Global Skilling Initiative with LinkedIn and GitHub, which has reached 10 million engaged learners globally, including 36,000 Malaysians since its announcement.
The collaboration with Biji-Biji comes at a time where the proliferation of digital platforms and growing preference for flexible work hours coincides with the rise of the gig economy, emerging as a major source of employment for Malaysians.
According to World Bank , 25.1 percent of Malaysians are self-employed in 2020, and this number is expected to increase as more Malaysians favour freelance, project-based hires.
“Addressing the skills gap that has resulted from the rapid acceleration of digital transformation today is an urgent task, and it is key to an inclusive economic recovery. Globally, Microsoft has announced its commitment to help 25 million people worldwide reskill for jobs in today’s and tomorrow’s economy. Our partnership with the Biji-biji initiative is an extension of this commitment, as we continue to explore new ways to empower Malaysians with the skills and tools they need to achieve more,” said K. Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia.
While the gig economy provides a great number of employment opportunities, stepping into the gig economy without prior knowledge or experience can be challenging. The Biji-biji Initiative aims to train and upskill 500 youths comprised of graduates from the below 40 percent (B40) communities and budding professionals interested in building a viable gig career.
This is achieved through a strategic partnership with Microsoft and Petrosains, along with gig community partners GoGet.my, Workana, Rtist Malaysia, TheKedua.com, and HeroKita. The result is an upskilling programme designed specifically for individuals interested in establishing a sustainable and professional gig profile.
With a series of webinars and workshops on topics such as personal branding, project management as well as financial management, participants will be able to experience a well-rounded, comprehensive course that equips them with the skills and network needed to successfully kickstart a gig career. Additionally, 50 participants will win free vouchers for a professional Microsoft examination for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Microsoft Excel, worth US$ 100 each.
Juliana Adam, the Chief Executive Officer of Biji-biji Initiative, emphasizes the need for young individuals to equip themselves with skills and knowledge before diving into the gig economy.
“We’ve seen a steady growth of gig workers in Malaysia, with many younger professionals stepping into this pool,” says Juliana. “We want to help them with the security of their future – in valuing and pricing their services right, managing financial security, as well as providing them with a vast array of certifications to further enhance their portfolio.
“We hold the same vision with Microsoft in building a stronger future for professionals in the gig economy – the programme is a great start for individuals, especially in the B40 communities, to begin their journey as a gig worker.”
Looking beyond the gig economy, the Microsoft Global Skilling Initiative is an ambitious global effort to help 25 million people worldwide gain more digital skills in 2020.
In the three months since the launch of the initiative, Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub have reached 10 million learners in 231 countries and territories through opportunity.linkedin.com. Across 21 markets in Asia Pacific, there have been close to 1,552,000 learners reached through the initiative.
Malaysia ranked 35th globally in its skilling progress, having reached more than 36,000 learners. Globally, the most popular in-demand learning paths are Software Developer, Customer Service Specialist, and Data Analyst.