Tech for Good: Grab partners Microsoft to upskill millions of Southeast Asians

As part of its “Grab for Good” social impact programme that was announced on Tuesday, Grab announced “Tech for Good,” a skills training and digital literacy initiative in partnership with Microsoft. The initiative aims to bridge the tech skills gap in Southeast Asia, targeted at Grab driver-partners and their families, as well as building a future pool of tech talent.

Based on a report by Cisco entitled “Technology and the future of ASEAN jobs” (September 2018), it is estimated that 6.6 million workers across six major ASEAN economies will require reskilling by 2028. About 41 percent of them lack relevant IT skills that new jobs will demand.

In a broad sense, the “Grab for Good” programme is about creating economic access; and digital access and equity for all in Southeast Asia. 

As Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-founder of Grab said in his opening keynote, “Leave no man behind,” as the world embraces the digital economy.

Grab for Good: Anthony Tan
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Grab is committed to continue to help the millions of micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs across Southeast Asia, the very basis of its “Grab for Good” programme; but it knows it can’t do it alone. Hence, the regional strategic partnership with Microsoft, that will cater to varying levels of digital literacy; ultimately to make economic opportunities and digital economy accessible to all in the region.

“One of the challenges we see in Asia Pacific is the democratisation of education. We belive that education should be accessible to everyone, specifically tech and digital literacy. This encourages ingenuity, computational thinking and problem-solving skills, all of which are key to the future,” said Andrea Della Mattea, President, Microsoft in Asia Pacific.

“As Southeast Asia grows, we hope everyone can rise with it and benefit from the growing digital economy. I’m especially excited thast Grab driver-partners and their families will be able to learn new skills from Microsoft courses and work towards certifications,” said Hoo Ling Tan, co-founder, Grab.

Grab for Good
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Grab and Microsoft will collaborate in several ways.

Firstly, working with select universities across Southeast Asia to train students with real-world, technical skills that are in demand by industry. Microsoft will provide access to industry-recognised content, curriculum, a learning platform and certifications, as well as tools like Azure for Education.

For starters, the two companies have partnered with University of Indonesia (UI) and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) to offer the Microsoft certification programme. More universities across the region are expected to come on board in the next six months. 

Meanwhile, Grab will support applied learning through industry-relevant challenges and data, facilitate learning experiences such as hackathons, as well as offer internships.

Grab driver-partners and their families stand to gain from the collaboration, too. They will have access to Microsoft’s Digital Literacy certification programme via the Grab driver app, as well as able to complete basic courses, covering topics such as computer basics, using the Internet, and productivity software. Upon completion, driver-partners will be awarded a Microsoft certification for free.

The course will be available first in English in GrabAcademy, an online training platform within the Grab driver app. Local languages are planned for next year.

Through the FutureReadyASEAN platform, children and spouses of Grab’s partners will gain access to inclusive computer science education. 

With support from global non-profit Generation: You Employed, Grab and Microsoft will create a pathway for driver-partners to pursue tech-enabled careers. The programme will include practicing-based curriculum, and offers the opportunity to be certified in Microsoft proprietary courses. Graduates will then be matched for interviews with Grab and Microsoft partner companies for specific technology roles.

The first pilot programme in Singapore will benefit around 100 driver-partners, with the first batch trained by June 2020. This will be rolled out in other countries after evaluation of the pilot. 

The “Grab for Good” social impact programme is a five-year initiative that aims to empower people in Southeast Asia  to gain critical access to technology, upskilling and digital services. Read more about it here.

In its Social Impact Report (2018-2019), it is estimated that Grab contributed USD5.8 billion to the Southeast Asian economy in the twelve months leading up to March 2019. For the report highlights, visit this link.

By Vernon

Vernon is the founder and chief editor of A graphic designer by profession, he has a deep love for technology, cars, gadgets, food, and travel. He tweets too much and is also known as a caffeine bacterium ("life's too short for bad coffee"). Bleeds Blue (go Chelsea FC!) and considers BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo cars to have in the garage--for true petrolheads, that is.