Cisco rounded up eight technology companies including Microsoft, Google and IBM to form a consortium targeting training programmes for roles most likely to be affected by AI, complementing the work of a partnership between the US and European Union (EU).

Apart from the named companies the consortium counts Intel, Accenture, Indeed, SAP and Eightfold.

In a statement, the group explained its launch was inspired by the US and Europe’s Talent for Growth Task Force, a programme launched by US President Joe Biden, European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel in 2021.

The group, which calls itself the AI-enabled ICT Workforce Consortium, will be taking inputs from advisers including the US Department of Commerce, Digital Europe and Communications of Workers of America.

At the heart of the consortium is a plan to launch “upskilling and reskilling” training and research initiatives on how AI is changing the landscape of work, focusing on the roles most likely to be impacted by this transition.

The group said it will commence a phased approach, with the first stage set to evaluate AI’s impact on 56 ICT job roles.

Citing data from Indeed Hiring Lab, the consortium noted the US and five of the largest European countries by ICT workforce (Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands) account for a significant segment of the ICT sector, with a combined total of 10 million ICT workers.

The initiatives will see Cisco train 25 million people with cybersecurity and digital skills by 2032, IBM to train 30 million individuals by 2030 and SAP to upskill 2 million people worldwide by 2025, among others.

Google had also recently announced a €25 million funding for AI training in Europe.

Commenting on the body’s launch, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said: “I hope that this consortium is just the beginning, and that the private sector sees this as a call to action to ensure our workforces can reap the benefits of AI”.