Hiring talent with skills around artificial intelligence is a priority for a strong majority of employers in Canada, data from a new study suggests.
In fact, employers are willing to pay 25% more to hire talent with AI skills, according to the study, conducted by research firm Access Partnership on behalf of Amazon Web Services.
However, among employers hiring for AI skills, 77% say they are finding it difficult to hire qualified talent.
Artificial intelligence is a transformative technology, “with great potential to make the world safer, healthier, and more prosperous,” believes Amazon.
And as AI’s influence on the tasks that we perform increases, especially at work, the need for an AI-savvy workforce becomes ever greater.
But the pipeline of AI talent is not currently sufficient to meet future demands.
Thus, Amazon has launched “AI Ready,” a digital upskilling platform offering free AI training to Canadians across age groups.
“If we are going to unlock the full potential of AI to tackle the world’s most challenging problems, we need to make AI education accessible to anyone with a desire to learn,” says Coral Kennett, Education Lead for AWS Canada. “That’s why Amazon is announcing ‘AI Ready,’ a new commitment designed to providing free AI skills training to two million people globally by 2025.”
To achieve this goal, Amazon is releasing new initiatives for adults and young learners as well as scaling existing free AI training programs, according to Kennett.
One new initiative is the AWS Generative AI Scholarship. A $12 million scholarship commitment will provide 50,000 high school and university students in Canada—who are grappling with different challenges around AI than professionals—and around the world with access to a new generative AI course on Udacity.
The course, designed by AI experts at AWS, “introduces students to foundational generative AI concepts and guides them through a hands-on project,” Kennett writes. “Upon successful course completion, students earn a certificate from Udacity to showcase their knowledge to future employers.”
Another initiative is the launch of eight new AI and generative AI courses, all of which are free. Courses range from “Introduction to Generative Artificial Intelligence” and “Foundations of Prompt Engineering” to “Generative AI Learning Plan for Decision Makers” and “Building Language Models on AWS.”
“There is something for everyone with courses ranging from foundational to advanced and for business leaders as well as technologists,” says Kennett. “These courses augment the 80 free and low-cost AI and generative AI courses and resources provided through AWS.”
And finally, Amazon also unveiled a collaboration with Code.org designed to help students learn about Gen AI—from as young as kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.
“We want to help as many students as possible,” Kennett affirms.
The new “AI Ready” commitment is in addition to Amazon’s existing mission to provide free cloud computing skills training to 29 million people by 2025, including 200,000 Canadians.
The mission is part of a broader adoption of upskilling, an agile and evolving way to train and maintain relevant career skills in a rapidly shifting environment, across Canada.