IBM steps up AI and blockchain ambitions in France
IBM has revealed a set of investments and initiatives in France that will create 1,800 jobs during the next two years, in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud computing and the internet of things (IoT).
It won’t be limited to fintech, but this is coupled with an expansion in France of the “world’s largest network” of training programmes for “new collar” skills. You could call them Big Blue-collar workers if you want.
IBM’s chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty, name-dropped French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
“President Macron is making a big bet, and a smart one, that AI is going to transform every job, every profession and every industry,” says Rometty. “At IBM, we share this belief and see evidence of it every day with Watson driving exponential impact here in France and around the world. That is why we are bringing 1,800 new jobs to France to meet growing demand for AI from our clients.”
IBM plans to hire business consultants, IT architects, developers and technical experts, including both new graduates and experienced professionals.
The 1,800 new jobs include 400 AI-related roles IBM announced in March at the French AI for Humanity summit.
With this new hiring, IBM is planning to strengthen its national presence by creating local hubs with local public and private partners, as already started in Lille and Strasbourg.
IBM explains that it has been creating and hiring for “new collar” jobs. They are entirely new roles in areas such as cybersecurity, data science, AI and cognitive business that “do not necessarily require traditional university degrees, but rather the right skills, often obtained through vocational or on-the-job training”.
As part of this effort, IBM is partnering with the French government on the company’s P-TECH (Pathways to Technology Early College High School) education model. IBM created P-TECH in 2011 to provide young people – primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds – the skills and credentials required for 21st century jobs.
By September, IBM says P-TECH will be in nearly 120 schools in four countries and is on track to prepare more than 75,000 students for “new collar” jobs. The model – which is built upon collaborations between government, education and industry – now includes more than 400 companies, which are investing in their future workforce by providing mentoring, site visits, paid internships and guaranteed job interviews upon graduation.
In addition, the company is launching the IBM France Academy. The Academy, based in Paris and supported by online courses, will train IBM France employees, clients and partners to “build modern skills for the AI-era”.
On the other side of the world, and several days ago, IBM teamed with Tokyo’s Keio University, JSR, MUFG, Mizuho and Mitsubishi Chemical to push on with its quantum computing ambitions in Japan.