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Microsoft and UWTSD share vision for digital transformation in higher education

Credit: UWTSD

A Shared Goals Agreement between Microsoft and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) aims to ensure that the University’s students are equipped with the latest digital skills.

The University is the first in Wales and one of three in the UK to sign a Shared Goal Agreement with Microsoft to enable UWTSD to harness Microsoft’s world-leading tools and resources to transform the University’s technology enhanced learning and teaching and to embed such innovation into its curriculum.

Students will benefit from courses focused on areas such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and data science, while also having access to LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft’s AI Business School and technology learning courses, GitHub and industry certifications. It will also allow students to build critical non-technical skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

Society has witnessed a massive shift towards technology in its response to the Coronavirus, enabling people to work from home, businesses to move their services online as well as enabling people to keep in social contact with each other. But, even before the pandemic struck, the fourth industrial revolution was being driven by advancements in technology, transforming the workplace, increasing job mobility and placing new demands on society.

Barry Liles, OBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Skills and Lifelong Learning at UWTSD said: “As a University, we are committed to providing all of our students with the best possible foundation for their future careers. Today’s students need to be empowered with access to technologies, experiences, and learning opportunities to build the skills necessary to fuel their future opportunities and success.

“While students still need such skills as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity, they also need digital skills to thrive in an increasingly hybrid, digital economy.

“According to a UK Government report, by 2025, it is expected that over 149 million new technology jobs will become available in areas such as software development, cloud, data, artificial intelligence and security. Technology is also transforming all sectors of the economy from manufacture to service delivery. It is vital therefore that universities keep pace with these changing environments to ensure their students have the talent and training to support these needs and fuel economic growth.”

Chris Rothwell, Director of Education at Microsoft UK, said: “The launch of our Shared Goal Agreement programme reflects Microsoft’s continued commitment to Academia in equipping students with the knowledge, competencies and mindset needed to succeed in a world that is increasingly digital and is rapidly changing. We are pleased to be celebrating the agreement with the UWTSD. Microsoft and UWTSD share a vision to empower students and ensure they have the skills needed to drive innovation on a global scale.”

James Cale, Director of Digital Services at UWTSD added: “This agreement with Microsoft will enable our university to deliver cutting-edge digital content to our students in a very simple way. Courses on the cloud, AI and data will be available to our students, so they can be prepared for new roles and jobs now and in the future. That involves embedding a range of technical and non-technical courses from Microsoft Learn in our curriculum to give them accreditation from Microsoft as well as from UWTSD.

“Microsoft and UWTSD share a clear vision and common goals to empower and upskill our students, particularly in Digital Skills, to enhance their employability, support the post COVID recovery of employment in Wales through high level skills development and the introduction of innovative and flexible approaches to learning.

“The University is already utilising several of the Microsoft resources available, including most recently, the Microsoft Learn for Educators Programme which delivers real-world, industry-ready skills for UWTSD students in the most in-demand areas of Cloud / AI / Data / Power Platform.

“We are also providing all staff with access to LinkedIn Learning, with courses from industry experts helping us to enhance staff digital capabilities and technical skills. The University will also be looking to provide training and certification for technical staff via the Microsoft Enterprise Skills Agreement and promote Microsoft programmes for Students such as the AI Business School, Student Ambassadors and the Imagine Cup.

“The agreement will also allow us to further explore post covid recovery & resilience – providing access to innovative and flexible approaches to online learning for re-skilling and upskilling the workforce post Covid”.

“In every industry and in markets around the world, we are seeing increased demand for skills talent and hiring across our partners, our suppliers and customers,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice-President of Education at Microsoft. “From experience, we know that working in tandem with leading educational institutions and educational systems of the world to provide access to skills resources, relevant industry-based learning content and assessment solutions is a winning formula for students, the workforce and drive the digital economy across the UK.”

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David concluded: “The University and Microsoft share a mutual ambition to empower our students by enabling them to develop the skills and competencies needed by employers – now and in the future. Today’s students are after all tomorrow’s leaders; they will have a profound impact on our society and its future prosperity.

“UWTSD is committed to ensuring that our students can thrive in an environment that enables them to develop higher level skills and competencies that will enable them to make a difference and contribute to the social, cultural and economic prosperity of their communities”.