Skymind joins forces with USM in fresh initiative to boost industry-ready AI talent
By Digital News Asia September 4, 2020
- Skymind bullish on abundance of raw talent in Malaysia to be tapped
- Collaboration furthers commitment to build holistic AI ecosystem
In a move to cultivate Malaysia's AI talent ambitions, Skymind Holdings Bhd (Skymind) has joined forces with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) with a collaboration to cultivate industry-ready AI talent.
Under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed yesterday at the recently-established Skymind City Campus, Georgetown, Penang, Skymind and USM will collaborate to prepare AI ready talent, conduct joint research programmes in AI development and cultivate more AI certified/ready educators.
This collaboration with one of Malaysia's oldest and leading universities, and a premium Research institution in the country, is the latest in Skymind's commitment to pioneer a holistic AI ecosystem, which includes establishing Malaysia as a key digital talent hub for the region.
Pointing to the abundance of untapped talent in Malaysia, Dr Goh Shu Wei, Chief Operating Officer of Skymind , notes: "Just one example is that many chief technical officers in Silicon Valley are from Malaysia. There is tremendous raw talent in this country: we just need to upskill them! Malaysia has a golden opportunity to leap onto the AI wave as a key regional talent hub," he believes.
Six key objectives have been agreed to. These include:
(i) introducing activities between the Parties for mobility, research attachment and joint research for students and staff;
(ii) carrying out joint workshops, conferences and training programs;
(iii) promoting joint supervision and development of courses on Artificial Intelligence (AI);
(iv) promote and support Deep Learning certification;
(v) undertaking the Train-The-Trainer Programme (TTT) to qualified USM lecturers as Certified Deep Learning Trainers; and
(vi) embedding the certification module in relevant courses in USM as part of the curriculum integration to groom AI talent potential and career path in AI in the area of Deep Learning.
Expressing his delight at the partnership, Prof. Dr Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan, Vice Chancellor, USM, commented on the timeliness of the initiative: "In our analysis of the trends, it is self-evident that AI is rapidly becoming mainstream. Among all the opinions and insights at both the global and local levels, we have the realisation that every application now contains some kind of AI engine in various forms."
He further adds, there are USM researchers who are actively involved in ongoing work in Deep Learning for various image analysis. “Hence this collaboration with Skymind, particularly the Train-The-Trainer Programme (TTT), is timely and relevant. We also want to ensure all students embrace the digital wave, and AI is one of the IR4.0 competencies that should be acquired by not just the science students but also the arts and humanities, for higher employability in the current and future job market,” Faisal says.
Commenting on the significance of the partnership, Goh, the COO, reaffirmed Skymind's commitment to supporting and growing industry-ready AI talent in Malaysia. "There is a powerful consensus across all sectors, ranging from industry, academia to government circles that we need to upscale talent development to ensure that R&D, and societal transformation maintains momentum in these turbulent times."
Referencing Skymind's recent campaign to build a 300-strong 'AI Dream Team from the company's Malaysian base, he concluded: "Looking ahead, one of our goals is to enhance the quality of life and work by pioneering smarter people-driven ecosystems, which demand next level innovation enabled by cultivating industry ready AI talent and a platform of cross-sector collaboration."