At its Think Digital conference this week, IBM announced the launch of Open P-TECH, a free digital education platform focused on workplace learning and digital skills.

The platform, building on the industry leading P-TECH program, equips 14-20-year old learners and educators with foundational technology competencies.

Training in technologies such as AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity, along with professional skills, like Design Thinking, that are valued in the market set Open P-TECH apart. It offers content in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

“As the pandemic accelerates digital transformation, new ways of learning must keep pace if we are to equip all young people with skills relevant to the digital era and marketplace,” says Ginni Rometty, IBM executive chairman. “On the one hand, this is a massive challenge; on the other, this presents a great opportunity to better prepare people for new collar careers.

“Open P-TECH is a free platform designed to provide relevant workplace skills to anyone in the world so they can be successful in this digital era,” she adds.

First launched by IBM in 2011, the P-TECH (Pathways to Technology Early College High School) model has been adopted in 220 schools across 24 countries with over 150 000 students and 600 corporate partners.

Open P-TECH scales the most essential workplace preparation elements of the P-TECH program making them available to more students than before.

Open P-TECH provides modules for students and teachers that include courses on emerging technologies and courses on professional competencies, both leading to free digital badges that students can share on their online resumes.

Using the platform, students preparing for internships and new collar jobs earn the same badges as professionals in the field. In tandem with this, IBM is offering online webinars on a variety of workplace topics, along with activities that students can engage in over the summer.

Initially launched across Australia, Brazil, India and the US, Open P-TECH will bring components of the P-TECH model to 250 000 additional students in these countries, many of whom would otherwise not have access to innovative digital learning.

IBM believes that companies bringing advanced technologies to market have a responsibility to prepare students and workers for the way those technologies will shape jobs and the nature of our work. Innovation should unlock opportunities to make our workforce more inclusive, not less.