Having equipped companies with competency and industry-validated
certifications for 17 years, Datuk Eric Ku – Co-Founder and Executive Director of
iTrain Asia (iTrain) – believes that digital skills are now more imperative than ever.
He tells International Business Review that digital knowledge is in high demand,
becoming a proficiency benchmark among technology- savvy companies.
“We achieved 30 percent business growth despite the ever-changing policies to adapt to the situation brought on by the pandemic. By leveraging on our competency courses, we offer training to bridge the gap between industry needs and digital skills.
iTrain partners with many enterprises to chart customised digital competency development frameworks, upskilling and reskilling up to 40,000 employees per company. These include training new staff, and the outcome is very encouraging as some enterprises have registered a 60 percent increase in new digital technology project requests from business function units other than the IT division.
In the past two years, digital transformation has accelerated due to the pandemic and altered the skillsets that are required by working staff to utilise technology. Technology can be bought but the capacity for a digitally advanced future depends on the next generation’s skills, closing the talent supply-demand gap and futureproofing companies and employees.
At the core, businesses should first think about investing in talents before technology. The most advanced innovation is irrelevant without the human skills to use it and the most impressive human minds cannot advance without collaboration with technology.
I consider data analytics and science, digital marketing and automation via Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as promising in the coming years and as the top digital skills needed by big corporations. In-house data-handling can help companies form decisions due to the importance of information and data to the companies’ strategies.
For example, digital marketing can utilise data to translate purchase insights into marketing strategies, while automation-handling can increase operational efficiency and reduce manual work for manufacturing.
However, challenges such as the public’s reluctance towards online or virtual lessons prevent the upskilling process. We address this reluctance by introducing key terms prior so that attendees can be more engaged and hands-on during the upskilling sessions.
Addressing Digital-Literacy Gaps
In the long-term, we address digital-literacy gaps by introducing coding language to kids to cultivate their interest in mathematics and science, which form the foundation for coding, ML and AI.
iTrain is collaborating with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporate (MDEC), Ministry of Education (MoE) and National Library Malaysia to expose Malaysian children to the coding language via the SenangCode campaign. By also partnering with public facilities like libraries, we can increase the awareness for children with no devices at home.
Our efforts are also realised through collaborations with Teach for Malaysia,
through coaching teachers and trainers to impart the programming language
to children in remote and rural areas. We aspire to introduce 10,000 Malaysian
children per year to the coding language through all these initiatives.”