PLDT lauds ‘unbreakable spirit’ of PH enterprises amid challenging times

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The COVID-19 pandemic has presented immense challenges to industries around the world. With mobility restrictions in place, business owners had to rethink their operations and adjust to navigate the uncertainties in the new normal. Although some companies were able to adapt and seamlessly shift to the new norm, the process was not easy with many struggling with financial losses and temporary business closures. A survey from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released September last year reported that the Philippine economy experienced the worst impacts of the pandemic. The Philippines logged the highest number of business closures and layoffs among its peers in Southeast Asia. Despite that, Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT President & CEO and SVP and Head of PLDT & Smart Enterprise and International Business Groups, said that resilience is one of the core values that helped businesses conquer the challenges of the pandemic. This ‘unbreakable spirit’ of enterprises allowed them to embr

Over 150,000 people in the Philippines acquire digital skills during COVID-

Microsoft Corp. recently announced it has helped over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories gain access to digital skills, of which over 150,000 are from the Philippines. This tops its initial goal of 25 million last June. Microsoft Corp. is also extending its commitment to help 250,000 companies globally make a skills-based hire in 2021. 

From laid-off factory workers to retail associates and truck drivers, millions of people turned to online learning courses from GitHub, LinkedIn and Microsoft during the pandemic to help prepare for and secure the most in-demand roles, including customer service, project management and data analysis. The announcement, detailed on the Official Microsoft Blog, builds on the company’s efforts to help people by extending through 2021 free LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn courses and low-cost certifications that align to 10 of the most in-demand jobs. The next stage of the initiative sets a new foundation for a skills-based economy through a suite of new tools and platforms designed to connect skilled job seekers with employers.  

“Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world. Over the past year, we’ve seen the pandemic affect people all across the world, including those who could bear it the least,” said Microsoft Asia President Ahmed Mazhari. “For us to emerge stronger from the pandemic, reskilling needs to be at the center of our economic reset. Together with LinkedIn, we are doubling down our efforts to re-design work in the region by supporting the development of a more inclusive skills-based labor market, creating more alternatives, greater flexibility, and accessible learning paths that connect people more readily with new job opportunities.” 

LinkedIn plans to help 250,000 companies globally make skills-based hires this year through new and existing hiring products. The company will provide both new ways for job seekers to demonstrate their skills and new tools for employers to connect to candidates based on their skill proficiencies including:   

·         The pilot of LinkedIn Skills Path, a new way to help companies hire for skills. Skills Path brings together LinkedIn Learning courses with Skill Assessments to help recruiters source candidates in a more equitable way — based on their proven skills. LinkedIn is piloting Skills Path with various companies, including BlackRock, Gap Inc. and TaskRabbit, committed to broadening their hiring practices to better include candidates with diverse experiences.  

·          New expressive and personalized LinkedIn profile features will help people share more about themselves, their career and goals in a more authentic and engaging way. This includes a video Cover Story that allows job seekers to demonstrate their soft skills to recruiters and hiring managers. Seventy-five percent of hiring managers believe a standard resume is insufficient in evaluating a candidate’s soft skills, and almost 80% believe video has become more important when evaluating candidates.*  

·         Expanded access to LinkedIn’s Skills Graph will help create a common skills language for individuals, employers, educational institutions and government agencies to help improve workforce planning, hiring and development programs.  

Microsoft is bringing together every part of the company to supplement LinkedIn’s work to promote far-reaching digital skills opportunities, including Career Coach, a Microsoft Teams for Education app powered by LinkedIn that provides personalized guidance for higher education students to navigate their career journey. Career Coach offers educational institutions a unified career solution for students to help them discover their goals, interests and skills using an AI-based skills identifier and LinkedIn integration that aligns a student’s comprehensive profile with job market trends and helps them grow real-world skills and connect with mentors and peers all in one place. 

Olivier Legrand, Managing Director & Vice-President, Asia Pacific & China, LinkedIn said, “More and more, we are seeing skills-based hiring becoming critical in our world of work. We’ve seen people across the globe express a desire to learn and build their skills, and organizations too, are hiring based on skills instead of traditional qualifications. LinkedIn, together with Microsoft, are committed to helping everyone shift towards a skills-based economy. In 2021, we will continue our efforts to equip jobseekers with the right resources to pick up new skills, and connect them to opportunities, as well as aim to help 250,000 organizations make a skills-based hire.” 

As part of the initiative, Microsoft has worked closely with its nonprofit partners to help provide wrap-around support with coaching, mentoring and networking to nearly 6 million learners worldwide. Microsoft will apply these lessons more broadly and is announcing a new online service, Career Connector, that will provide 50,000 job seekers worldwide with the opportunity to secure a tech-enabled job over the next three years. It will focus on learners who have built skills via Microsoft’s nonprofit and learning partners, with an emphasis on women and underrepresented minorities in technology.   

Translating this global skilling effort in the Philippines is a strategic imperative within Microsoft’s nation-building plan for the country. Known as its Para sa Bayan program, the plan ultimately aims to positively impact 25 million Filipinos over the next three years by stimulating digital transformation, building coalitions for responsible innovation, closing the skills gap and enhancing employability, and creating sustainable societal impact. Within this greater effort are strategic programs and partnerships aimed towards students, government agencies, private organizations, communities, and associations. 

Education is a key focus area for Microsoft, and its close collaborations with the Department of Education (DEPED) aims to transform the education sector with technology. Before COVID-19, Microsoft and DEPED embarked on a project to provide free Microsoft 365 accounts to over 20 million public school students and 900,000 teachers in 48,000 schools all over the country. To date, over 400,000 teachers have been trained in Office 365, Teams, and other digital teaching tools. Microsoft is continuously working with the DEPED in other projects to ensure that Filipino teachers and students gain relevant digital skills.  

Microsoft is also partnering with the national government to upskill up to 800,000 government employees and 5 million students for economic development and inclusive growth.  

In addition, programs in partnership with the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, ABS-CBN, Philippine Airlines, IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines, Grab Philippines, and CloudSwyft are underway to ensure to close the skills gap of Filipino workers and enhance employability.  

“COVID-19 has increased the need for digital skills, and we are committed to meeting that need however we can—paving the way for a more resilient Philippines and allowing all sectors of society to contribute to the country’s economic recovery. We will continue to partner with the government, the private sector, non-profits, and NGOs to have a whole nation approach,” said Andres Ortola, General Manger-Microsoft Philippines. (PR)

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