“gap is widening between what’s taught in school and what employers need”

Werner Vogels:

Similar to the software development processes of decades past, we have reached a pivotal point with tech education, and we will see what was once bespoke on-the-job-training for a few evolve into industry-led skills-based education for many.

We have seen glimpses of this shift underway for years. Companies like Coursera, who originally focused on consumers, have partnered with enterprises to scale their upskilling and reskilling efforts. Degree apprenticeships have continued to grow in popularity because education can be specialized by the employer, and apprentices can earn as they learn. But now, companies themselves are starting to seriously invest in skills-based education at scale. In fact, Amazon just announced that it has already trained 21 million tech learnersacross the world in tech skills. And it’s in part thanks to programs like the Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship and AWS Cloud Institute. All of these programs enable learners at different points in their career journey to gain the exact skills they need to enter in-demand roles, without the commitment of a traditional multi-year program.

To be clear, this concept is not without precedent: when you think about skilled workers like electricians, welders, and carpenters, the bulk of their skills are not gained in the classroom. They move from trainee to apprentice to journeyperson, and possibly master tradesperson. Learning is continuous on the job, and there are well defined paths to upskill. This style of lifelong education—to learn and be curious—bodes well for individuals and businesses alike.