Wednesday, March 16, 2022

MCIT, Microsoft Launch National Skilling Program, Inaugurate Digital Center of Excellence

Doha, Qatar

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), in collaboration with Microsoft, has launched Qatar’s National Skilling Program to accelerate sustainable human development and digital transformation in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.

The launch coincided with the opening ceremony of the Digital Center of Excellence, the first of its kind in Qatar and the region and located in Msheireb Downtown Doha. The event was held on 15 March 2022, under the auspices of His Excellency Mr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, in his presence, as well as high representation from ministers and government officials and private sector executives.

Qatar’s National Skilling Program aims to train 50,000 people across all demographics by 2025 and empower them with the advanced digital skills they need to drive innovation and contribute to boosting the country's regional and global competitiveness.

The Digital Center of Excellence comes as part of the National Skilling Program in partnership with Elev8 and expands the joint efforts of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Microsoft to create a highly skilled workforce for a rapidly growing, diversifying and technologically advanced economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. The Center is expected to play a key role in building the talent pool that will help accelerate the digital transformation of government institutions and private sector companies in Qatar.

During the opening speech, Eng. Mashael Ali Al Hammadi: Acting Assistant Undersecretary of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said, "The human development pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030 motivates us on a daily basis to empower and equip the people of Qatar with the skills needed to develop the country into an advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its people,”. She added “The launch of the National Skilling Program and the opening of the Digital Center of Excellence will be key to this effort; providing advanced knowledge of modern technology and cloud computing that will empower all demographics.”

In a video message, Microsoft Executive Vice President Jean-Philippe Courtois congratulated Qatar's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for their visionary leadership in digital transformation and their commitment to human development through skilling, in line with Qatar Vision 2030. "Digital transformation will drive new economic opportunities for the people of Qatar – that's why we must ensure that everyone has access to the skills needed to succeed in the digital era," he said. “The Digital Center of Excellence will play an important role in this effort by empowering the nation’s digital workforce to leverage the power of the cloud to build a digital economy that is both advanced and sustainable.”

In her speech, Ms. Lana Khalaf, General Manager of Microsoft Qatar said the official launch of the National Skilling Program and the launch of the Digital Center of Excellence was a major milestone in the tech company’s ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. “Our efforts represent our joint commitment to unlock opportunities for the people of Qatar in the digital era by developing the technical skills of students as well as those already in the workforce,” she said.

Khalaf added that, as part of this partnership, more than 13,000 people in Qatar have been trained and certified across a variety of roles and audiences in just 18 months. These include students, teachers, IT professionals, developers and business leaders. “This is an extremely significant achievement we have made toward advancing skilling and fostering a culture of tech intensity in Qatar, and we look forward to building on this momentum with the launch of the Digital Center of Excellence and other initiatives as part of the National Skilling Program.”

Mr. Nasser Matar Al Kuwari, CEO of Msheireb Properties, expressed his pride to host the new Digital Center of Excellence in Msheireb Downtown Doha, the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project. "As a smart community built on intelligent, state-of-the-art technology systems, our goal has always been to establish Msheireb Downtown Doha as a center of innovation. Within this goal, we aim to become the home of various Information and Communications Technology (ICT) institutions that enhance the technical capabilities of the people of Qatar and unlock the potential of the next generation of digital pioneers,” he said. “Hosting the Digital Center of Excellence here in Msheireb Downtown Doha aligns strongly to this vision, as the Center will equip not only the next generation workforce, but also the current workforce with the skills needed to establish Qatar as a knowledge and innovation hub in line with National Vision 2030.”

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Microsoft partnered with Elev8, on the Digital Center of Excellence.

In her speech, Ms, Maria Balbas, President of elev8 said “the partnership with Microsoft and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology marked a pivotal moment in Qatar’s digital transformation journey to create a highly specialized workforce with the essential digital skills to successful in the fourth industrial revolution.”

She added, “elev8 supports a culture of lifelong learners and fosters curiosity and passion for learning. We take an innovative approach, applying elev8’s active learning methodology so that learners gain knowledge through hands-on experiences, and real-life scenarios. From students, to professionals, to business leaders, the Digital Centre of Excellence will empower people in Qatar with the skills needed in cutting-edge technologies for a new digital world”.

The Digital Centre of Excellence aims to develop the technical skills of students as well as those already in the workforce. Through globally recognized, industry endorsed role-based skilling tracks, the center offers individuals and organizations a professional advantage by providing a range of trainings and certifications that skill, upskill and reskill professionals, developers, business leaders and current students on advanced technologies such Cloud computing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.

In cooperation with a number of leading international universities such as MIT xPro, the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD) and HEC Paris in Qatar, the Digital Center of Excellence will offer world-class training programs.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, is also partnering on this initiative to complement the learning journeys of participants through dedicated workshops aimed at supporting and enabling them in their current and future jobs.

The official launch of the National Skilling Program and the opening of the Digital Center of Excellence come ahead of the launch of a new Microsoft Cloud datacenter region in Qatar, which will avail enterprise-grade cloud services, combined with data residency, security, and the broadest compliance for organizations and companies in Qatar.