Microsoft to bring AI skills training to rural communities

From left: Kieran McCorry, national technology officer, Microsoft Ireland; Sandra Hennigan; Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Dara Calleary; and Oleksandr Krasnozhenov (Sasha); at a Connected Hub in Knockmore in north Mayo. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

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Microsoft has announced a new initiative aimed at rural communities Ireland that is designed to build up skills in artificial intelligence.

The programme, which is being carried out in partnership with FIT, is part of Microsoft’s plan to give everyone in Ireland access to basic skills and competencies in AI. The four-hour course is free of charge.

The tech giant has also partnered with RDI Hub in Kerry to provide masterclasses in AI for businesses, both online and in-person. Chief executive of the hub, Liam Cronin, said the collaboration would help it to deliver exceptional AI masterclasses at scale across Munster.

The latest programme is part of a wider scheme Microsoft launched last year to help prepare workers in Ireland for the new technology.

“AI has the potential to empower people and organisations across the country but it’s critical that everyone, everywhere has the skills to harness its benefits,” said James O’Connor, Microsoft Ireland Site Leader and Vice-President Microsoft Global Operations Service Centre, said:

“Through these new AI learning pathways, we want to empower people of all ages, backgrounds and experience with the skills and knowledge to succeed in an AI-enabled economy. Our new AI masterclasses, in collaboration with the RDI Hub in Kerry, will also help businesses develop the tools and skills to adopt AI at speed and support growth into the future.”

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Dara Calleary welcomed the move. “AI tools and technology have significant potential to transform how we work and do business. But to fully unlock their benefits and meet the ambition of our National AI Strategy, individuals and businesses must start to develop in-demand AI skills and capabilities,” he said.


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