Microsoft UK pledges support for Digital Skills for Defence

Personnel across the Ministry of Defence will benefit from enhanced digital skills, as a result of a new partnership with Microsoft UK

Claire Fry, Defence Digital’s Director of Functional Integration, briefs the MOD and Microsoft leaders at the launch of DS4D

  • Accelerating work on advancing digital skills development across UK Defence.
  • Delivering skills development and training to thousands of personnel across UK.
  • Transforming digital skills across the whole workforce for military personnel and civilians.

Personnel across the Ministry of Defence will benefit from enhanced digital skills, as a result of a new partnership with Microsoft UK.

Accelerating digital learning at scale and pace, the programme will support The Digital Skills for Defence (DS4D) programme, helping transform the digital skills across the whole workforce; military, civilian, digital professionals and leaders.

This partnership will help upskill the MOD workforce through deeper collaboration with Microsoft UK, supporting the Government’s priority to grow the economy. The key elements are:

  • Supporting the workforce in enabling training for Microsoft products and services.
  • Helping to raise awareness of additional skills programs and resources that align with DS4D’s training objectives and support the programme’s skills and development pathways.
  • Offering shadowing opportunities for Senior MOD staff to foster a culture of sharing best practice and adopting innovative digital approaches.

Earlier in the year, the programme hosted an event at the Microsoft Innovation Centre in London. It was attended by senior leaders in Defence and aimed to get them thinking about the changes needed to transform the wider Defence culture, increase levels of curiosity and create a step change in the ability to a work collaboratively across Defence.

The importance of Digital skills was a major theme of the day and it was clear that this is a topic that impacts everyone from the Chief of the Defence Staff through to a ‘day one’ recruit.

At the event, Claire Fry, Director Functional Integration commented on the need to ensure that Defence is digitally ready for the future:

"Our ambition is to deliver and then continuously adapt a critical capability uplift for Defence through the delivery of a world class digital skills education programme for the whole workforce, our leaders and for digital professionals. This is fundamental to retaining our advantage and keeping ahead of our competition.

"Our partnership with companies like Microsoft enables us to bring in leading edge digital learning for Defence, I’m delighted to have them on board."

The DS4D programme is a key driver in delivering critical digital skills capability uplift, for defence leaders, digital professionals and the whole Military and Civilian workforce. This is fundamental in building and retaining operational and business advantage, keeping up with and ahead of the competition. The ambition of the programme goes beyond education by looking to transform the learning culture and the way Defence works collaboratively.

There are also several other collaborative projects that will be developed to support the whole force at MOD to increase their digital skills and knowledge. Microsoft joins other key partners in supporting the MOD in transforming the way the whole workforce accesses digital learning.

MOD Chief Information Officer, Charles Forte said on this agreement:

"The Digital Skills for Defence Programme is enabling us to build, support and drive digital capabilities within the MOD. The programme will future proof the role we have in continuing to provide world class defence against our adversaries whether that’s in the battlespace or the back office. We are driving our culture of digital innovation by teaming up with partners like Microsoft to provide our whole force with development and training opportunities."

Claire Barclay, Microsoft UK CEO said:

"Almost every organisation I speak to is prioritising digital skills. When businesses invest in people, we all benefit; skills open doors for everyone. It’s an exciting time for the Ministry of Defence and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next."

Ministry of Defence