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Skill building

Research office offering Memorial community free access to IBM digital program

Teaching and Learning

By Melissa Ennis

As technology advances and industries evolve, skill building is integral to any student or professional’s toolkit.

It can sometimes feel daunting to keep up. You might wonder: am I communicating effectively? What is ChatGPT? Should I be using it at work or school?

A person with dark, curly hair wearing a black top and purple sweater smiles at the camera
Becky Martin is a staff member in the Student Experience Office who used the IBM SkillsBuild program.
Photo: Submitted

Thanks to a partnership with IBM Canada, the Memorial community now can access a free, digital training program, IBM SkillsBuild.

Housed in Memorial’s Office of the Vice-President (Research)’s Centre for Analytics, Informatics and Research, IBM SkillsBuild learners have access to more than 1,000 online, self-paced courses relating to careers in IT, including artificial intelligence (AI), and professional workplace skills like collaboration, communication and problem-solving.

Learning pathways, certifications and digital credentials from IBM allow learners to explore and showcase skills that can help with landing a job or advancing their career.

Professional growth

While IBM SkillsBuild offers options for career path exploration that Memorial University students may find beneficial, it also provides professionals at any stage of their career with valuable learning opportunities.

Becky Martin completed a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English at Memorial in 2023.

She now works at the Student Experience Office (Student Life) as a co-ordinator of new student experience.

“Whether you are just beginning your educational journey, are a graduate, alumni, staff, faculty or retiree, learning never ends.”— Becky Martin

Ms. Martin discovered IBM SkillsBuild while exploring resources for the Memorial students she works with and was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of courses that allowed for personal and professional growth in her own career.

“IBM SkillsBuild is incredibly user-friendly and the courses are set at your own pace, allowing it to feel anxiety-free,” she said. “I was happy to find that there were plenty of resources to help with students’ professional development. The courses were intriguing and easy to use, allowing me to learn a few skills that will help me in my own career.”

While tech-related courses can teach learners the basics of AI, cybersecurity or web development, workplace skills essential to many jobs are also in demand.

Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals; Entrepreneurship Marketing Essentials; Explorations into Mindfulness; Project Management Fundamentals; and Foundations in Effective Mentoring are just a few of the courses and badges learners can access on IBM SkillsBuild.

Curated learning

Centre for Analytics, Informatics and Research staff built a customized training program on IBM SkillsBuild for participants of the Murphy Centre’s technology career program, TechPrep.

Dedicated to helping individuals explore the thriving tech sector in Newfoundland and Labrador, TechPrep provides a custom learning path via IBM SkillsBuild, delving into subjects such as web development, HTML and CSS, JavaScript, Python, SQL, data science, cloud computing and cybersecurity.

“IBM SkillsBuild offers a comprehensive array of online courses covering essential tech skills,” said Jeff Hillyard, co-ordinator of the TechPrep program. “The tailored 10-week learning path curated by Memorial University staff strategically combines various IBM SkillsBuild courses and empowers participants to acquire foundational knowledge crucial for success in the tech industry.”

IBM SkillsBuild is a valuable resource for anyone considering a career shift, looking to upskill or simply pursuing knowledge.

“By empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed, we can create a better future for all.” — Michelle Gilliard

Michelle Gilliard, corporate social responsibility leader at IBM Americas, says the company believes that the future of work will be shaped by “the intersection of technology and human ingenuity.”

“That’s why we’re committed to providing learners with the resources they need to develop the skills that will help them thrive in the digital economy,” she said. “By empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed, we can create a better future for all.”

Ms. Martin encourages anyone in the Memorial University community considering developing their digital knowledge to explore what SkillsBuild offers.

“Whether you are just beginning your educational journey, are a graduate, alumni, staff, faculty or retiree, learning never ends.”

To learn more or to register for IBM SkillsBuild, please visit online.

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