Grab SG and Microsoft tie up to empower drivers and delivery partners with digital skills

Grab Singapore and Microsoft have tied up to launch three training and development programmes aimed at empowering Grab's drivers 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 drivers and delivery partners interested to increase their level of digital knowledge will be given free access to Microsoft’s e-learning digital literacy modules via the GrabAcademy in the Grab partner app. 

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, according to a press release. It is added that Grab will further extend the course to its partners in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Philippines by mid 2021.

The collaboration also include an eight-month train-and-place programme, which partners who are keen in pursuing a software development career can sign up for. The programme is conducted by Temasek Polytechnic and is part of the SGUnited Skills programme. Grab's initiatives come as it found, through a survey of 3,000 driver-partners conducted in late 2019, that more than 70% indicated that they planned to stop driving after two years. Additionally, one in two partners are willing to take part in career-related training. 

grab microsoft partnership

Apart from drivers and delivery partners, Grab and Microsoft are also working with Singapore Polytechnic on a pilot programme to groom interested students in AI skills. Aimed to equip tertiary students with relevant 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. Students will receive a certification upon completion, and the best performers will also be fast-tracked for internship opportunities with Grab.

According to a press release, 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.

The partnership also contributes to Grab’s social impact goals, “Grab for Good” – which include bringing digital literacy and greater inclusion to three million Southeast Asians through partnerships with governments, private companies and non-profit organisations. It also includes training 20,000 students regionally through tech talent initiatives by 2025.

Yee Wee Tang, managing director, Grab Singapore, said the company has a role to play to improve digital inclusiveness and literacy in the communities it operates in, as well as create more pathways for its partners who are keen in these opportunities. “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. 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,” Yee added.

Daiana Beitler, philanthropies lead, Microsoft Asia, added that the partnership builds on the company's 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," she added.

Grab reportedly announced last week that its third quarter group revenue rose to over 95% of pre-COVID-19 levels. According to president Ming Maa in a newsletter update, Grab's business recovery is said to be continuing at a steady pace and the company's food business now rakes in over 50% of its revenue. He added that this trend reflects a spike in demand for food delivery in the new normal. 

Having laid this foundation, Grab reportedly said it will focus on expanding its financial services and merchant services business through the rest of the year and beyond. It is added that the company will also work with governments to bring digital tools to MSMEs struggling through the pandemic, and drive greater digital inclusion in marginalised and rural communities in order to build a more resilient Southeast Asia. 

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