Microsoft launches its first Asian Datacenter Academy in S’pore with ITE

From left: ITE CEO Low Khah Gek, Microsoft data centre technicians and ITE trainees Janson Teo and Rabiahtul Ardawiyah Ishak, and Microsoft Singapore managing director Lee Hui Li. PHOTO: MICROSOFT

SINGAPORE - Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students interested in working at data centres can get scholarships and training from Microsoft from 2023, with the possibility of full-time employment with the firm after that.

Microsoft will offer scholarships to up to 20 ITE students who are keen on a future in the data centre industry to pursue ITE’s Work Study Diploma programme, the tech giant said on Thursday.

Some of these students will be selected to interview for jobs at Microsoft on graduation, it added.

Microsoft – along with its partners and customers – will create over 86,000 new jobs in Singapore by 2026. Of these, over 50,000 will be skilled IT jobs, it said.

Microsoft, in collaboration with ITE, launched Asia’s first Datacenter Academy (DCA) here last Thursday. It aims to train about 300 students over the next five years.

Data centres are buildings or spaces which house computer systems. They can be industrial-scale, and many require staff to receive specialised training before working in them.

ITE chief executive officer Low Khah Gek said the data centre industry is a fast-growing one, and that this collaboration will position its trainees at the forefront of the industry.

According to the International Trade Administration, a US government agency, there are more than 70 operational data centres in Singapore by companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM.

The new DCA will offer data centre skills and provide a learning lab for hands-on training, said Microsoft and ITE in a statement. It will also offer mentorship and professional development resources.

Microsoft Singapore managing director Lee Hui Li said: “As we build a resilient, digitally inclusive future for Singapore, we must close the gap between training and employability, while ensuring that our people have relevant skills and opportunities for success.”

There are 12 other DCAs globally in countries like the US, Ireland and Sweden.

From January 2023, ITE will offer the DCA curriculum to students in three programmes: Data Centre Infrastructure and Operation, Mechanical and Electrical Services Supervision, and Logistics and Supply Chain Management. 

Microsoft said: “The curriculum aligns closely to the core competencies required for data centre roles across the tech sector focused on data centre infrastructure management, IT support, troubleshooting and mechanical services.

“It also includes experiential training across areas including artificial intelligence, data analytics, automation and cyber security. “

Upon completing the curriculum, students can earn a certificate of completion or a diploma.

Microsoft data centre technician and ITE work-study diploma trainee Janson Teo, 27, said his interest in data centres was piqued while he was working on projects involving networks at a communications company.

This led him to apply for a job with Microsoft to learn more about the field, he said.

Mr Teo plans to pursue a degree in data science to progress to more roles in the company in future.

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