Tech giant IBM has announced several partnerships to enhance the skills and careers of around 200,000 female students in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields, the company said in a statement.
For this, the New York-based firm has signed separate agreements with the governments of Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, IBM said in the release, adding that it planned to widen the three-year programme to several other states in the next few months.
IBM said that the programme would be a comprehensive approach to build technical capabilities as well as life and self-actualisation skills. It added that this would also equip the women with the skills of the future to help drive the economy of the next decade.
“We are investing in the empowerment of millions of young women and their teachers with training in STEM skills, so that India’s growing economy has the right resources and more women in the workforce,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive. Speaking at the India Skills Forum, she added that artificial intelligence, like other transformative technologies before it, will have a profound impact on jobs and the workplace.
"We need to work together to equip the workforce with a new generation of skills, so the benefits of artificial intelligence and technology can be experienced by the many, not just a few,” Rometty said.
Central government think-tank NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant said that there was an immediate need for collaboration between government, industry and academia to bridge the skills gap in the workforce. “By engaging with the government and academia, IBM is equipping India’s women with the right skills for jobs of the future, keeping in mind the diverse nature of the country,” he said.
IBM's current announcement is part of its global initiatives to develop new skills across the globe to bridge the gap between academics and profession.
The company is developing a two-year advanced diploma programme in emerging technologies in collaboration with the central ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, which will be available to 100 Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), including 50 all-women ITIs, over the next three years. IBM will also offer internships of up to five months.
Among its other initiatives, IBM will also provide its artificial intelligence-based Watson to support maths teachers with educational resources. It will also provide TryScience, a platform for teachers' training material and resources, to over four million teachers in India covering nine Indian languages.
Under the Atal Tinkering Labs initiative, IBM will provide a Watson-backed mentor platform for 4,000 mentors and 600,000 mentees would be provided with personalised services.