Grab and Microsoft announced three training and development programmes aimed at empowering driver- and delivery-partners as well as students with digital skills to help them capture IT related job and traineeship opportunities. The expanded partnership aims to benefit up to 5,000 driver and delivery-partners, and 250 tertiary students by the end of 2021.
Grab driver- and delivery-partners interested to up-level their digital knowledge can look forward to free access to Microsoft’s e-learning digital literacy modules via the GrabAcademy in the Grab partner app. Those who are keen on seeking a software development career can also sign up for an eight-month train-and-place programme. Apart from driver- and delivery-partners, a separate programme is also created to equip tertiary students with the right skill-sets to join the tech sector after graduation. The students will learn more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and get first-hand experience on how it can be applied in real-world scenarios.
Grab and Microsoft are long-time partners in helping Southeast Asia bridge the digital gap amidst the region’s accelerated efforts in building towards a digital-first economy. In 2019, both companies announced a regional partnership to equip workers with necessary technology skills through training, reskilling and career development support.
This partnership also contributes to Grab’s social impact goals, “Grab for Good” – which include bringing digital literacy and greater inclusion to 3 million Southeast Asians through partnerships with governments, private companies and non-profit organisations, as well as training 20,000 students regionally through tech talent initiatives by 2025.
“2020 has accelerated the adoption of digital services all-round. With more businesses looking to further their digitalisation journeys, the demand for talents with relevant digital skills will increase. As the leading technology player in the region, we have a role to play to improve digital inclusiveness and literacy in the communities we serve, as well as create more pathways for our driver and delivery-partners who are keen to capture these opportunities. We are pleased to be working closely with Microsoft to be delivering these programmes that will provide more holistic training support for participants – be it our partners, or the next-generation in Singapore,” said Yee Wee Tang, Managing Director, Grab Singapore.
“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for upskilling and closing this skills gap is an urgent task, key to inclusive economic recovery and digital transformation. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Grab to create a pathway for the driver- and delivery-partner community here to pursue tech-enabled careers. What we seek to achieve here builds on our ambition to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills needed for the COVID-19 economy. In the last three months, we have seen close to 83,000 learners from Singapore tap into various learning pathways, of which the top learning path is software developer. While this has been encouraging, we need to be relentless in our efforts to drive greater societal progress and help improve the lives of people in Singapore by advancing their capabilities and expertise,” said Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Asia.
Digital Skills Training Programmes for Driver and Delivery Partners
In a Grab Singapore survey of 3,000 driver-partners conducted in late 2019, more than 70% indicated that they planned to stop driving after two years. Additionally, 1 in 2 are willing to take part in career-related training.
The digital skills training programmes will leverage the expertise of both Grab and Microsoft to deliver tailored learning experiences for interested driver- and delivery- partners – regardless of their digital literacy levels, with a goal to grow their skill sets and improve employability opportunities.
For driver and delivery-partners seeking alternative career options
A new training programme for individuals interested in software development roles has commenced with inputs from Grab and Microsoft, and was built on Generation Singapore’s instructional methodology. The programme is conducted by Temasek Polytechnic and is part of the SGUnited Skills programme.
Selected trainees will undergo an eight-month coursework where they will pick up relevant technical skills including computer science fundamentals, web development, Java programming, relational databases, and UI/UX concepts. In addition, they will also be trained in simulated workplace scenarios to hone their soft skills which include critical thinking and interpersonal skills. During the course period, trainees will also have access to Microsoft and LinkedIn online learning pathways to secure additional certifications. At the end of the course, they will receive certification, and be matched and invited to interview for suitable opportunities, including software developer roles at Grab. (See Appendix for full list of participating employers)
Lau Kok Tiong, 43, a Grab driver-partner in Singapore who has signed up for this training programme, said: “I’ve always had an interest in the tech industry, but never had the opportunity to sign myself up for an upskilling course. I’m thankful that Grab has presented this training programme at such an opportune time. I’m excited to learn from the experts, and hope that this will equip me with the right skills to make my mid-career switch into the tech industry.”
For driver and delivery-partners seeking to pick up digital knowledge and skills
Grab driver- and delivery-partners who are seeking to pick up digital skills from scratch will now have free access to Microsoft’s e-learning modules via GrabAcademy. The “Introduction to Digital Literacy” course consists of six different modules covering basic computing and digital skills content such as internet usage, online productivity and communications tools, online security and safety and others. At the end of the programme, participants will be awarded a certification from Grab and Microsoft.
The course has been rolled out earlier in Indonesia and Vietnam, with over 439,600 certifications issued to Grab’s partners in both markets since February 2020. Grab will further extend the course to driver and delivery-partners in Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand by mid 2021.
Franz Xavier, a Grab driver-partner in Indonesia who had completed his training and received his certification said, “I like to take part in the GrabAcademy training because I want to get information about new programmes and knowledge about digital skills. This programme is really useful to help me develop my skill sets. My goal is to open an online business, so this training is really useful.”
Grooming Next-generation AI talents
According to EDBI and Kearney, artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to provide an 18% uplift in the Singapore economy by 2030. Demand for AI talents is thus expected to rise to meet market demands as industries continue their technology transformation.
Grab and Microsoft are working with Singapore Polytechnic on a pilot programme to groom interested students in AI skills. They can:
● Build foundational knowledge of AI by completing Azure AI Fundamentals training via the Microsoft Learn platform over one semester;
● Participate in the Grab Data Science Challenge, where they will work with anonymised real-world data from Grab’s transport business to solve problem statements through data and AI modelling.
Students will receive certification from Microsoft and Grab upon completion. Best performers will also be fast-tracked for internship opportunities with Grab.
APPENDIX – Full list of participating employers
Grab is the leading everyday super app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter most to consumers. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 205 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food, package delivery, digital payments and financial services, across 394 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries. For more information, see: http://www.grab.com.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
 Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub have reached 10 million learners in 231 countries and territories through opportunity.linkedin.com. Singapore ranked 21st globally in its skilling progress, having reached close to 83,000 learners.