MoD accelerates digital skills development with Amazon

Posted on 1 December, 2022 by Advance 

Amazon and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are teaming up to scale up and accelerate work on advancing digital skills development across UK defence.

Image copyright Shutterstock

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the MOD and Amazon Web Services (AWS) will see AWS supporting MOD’s Digital Skills for Defence Programme for the next three years.

It will deliver digital skills development and training to thousands of personnel across UK defence, equipping the next generation of future leaders in the British Armed Forces and wider supply chain with the data and digital skills to defend the UK from emerging threats.

The MoU sets out a number of initiatives designed to directly push the MoD’s Digital Skills for Defence programme forward at scale and pace. Key aspects of the collaboration will see the provision of:

Training resources across the defence enterprise and in particular supporting the Digital Foundry, the visionary hub formed within Defence Digital that harnesses emerging technology to tackle some of the country’s most pressing defence challenges.

A tailored programme of attachments for senior leaders responsible for driving the UK MoD’s digital transformation.

The agreement - the first of its kind globally - was announced at the AWS re:Invent 2022 conference, with the work taking place as part of a wider UK government programme with AWS to boost digital skills.

Laurence Lee, Second Permanent Secretary at the MoD, said: "It is crucial we keep Defence personnel at the forefront of digital skills as we’re faced with emerging threats in an ever-changing battlespace. The speed of digital change cannot be underestimated, and the Digital Skills for Defence programme will help us match global competitors.

"This agreement with AWS exemplifies our focus on harnessing cutting-edge ways of working within Defence, drawing on the expertise of the public and private sectors, and we’re excited at the new opportunities for skills development this presents.

Charles Forte, Chief Information Officer at the MoD, said: "Today marks a key milestone in our delivery of our Digital Skills for Defence programme and the development of digital skills across UK Defence. Amazon’s agreement to build upon and scale up our work within the Digital Skills for Defence programme is a crucial priority that will help us realise digital transformation across Defence.

"It serves as an important symbol of how we must deepen our work with the tech sector to realise our objectives. We are grateful for this commitment and look forward to developing this partnership with AWS and other companies and organisations across the sector."

The MoU will enable deeper collaboration between AWS and Defence Digital on skills development, outlining plans for equipping defence leaders and military and civilian personnel with game-changing technical skills to sustain military and business advantage.

Chris Hayman, Director Public Sector UK & Ireland at AWS, said: "We are proud to be the first company to sign an MoU of this nature with the UK Ministry of Defence. We are fully committed to supporting the Government’s skills agenda across the whole of the public sector, and this agreement reflects our determination to support the defence community in their development of a world-leading skills environment.

"To better help defence organisations with their digital transformations, a clear understanding across Government and amongst senior military leaders about the benefits of emerging technology, such as cloud, to deliver critical missions is needed.

"We are excited to be working with MoD to help upskill senior officials and military leaders in their understanding of cloud and associated technologies, such as quantum technology and artificial intelligence."

Digital Skills for Defence aims to deliver a 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. This ambition goes beyond education but looks to transform our learning culture and the way we work collaboratively across Defence.