Tourists are flocking back to Thailand, providing much needed economic activity in a sector that experienced unprecedented job losses and disruption during the pandemic. But beyond the beautiful beaches and warm Thai hospitality, the country is undergoing a different kind of disruption. Thailand is accelerating its digital transformation, and its vision for Thailand 4.0 is all about creating a thriving digital economy. Equipping workers with in-demand digital skills is mission critical if Thailand is to become a key player in the digital economy.

Introducing AWS re/Start to Thailand

Now is the opportune time for Thai employers and workers to consider reskilling and upskilling in cloud technologies to support this digital transformation. That’s why I’m excited to announce the launch of AWS re/Start in Thailand—our free, cohort-based workforce development training program that prepares underemployed or unemployed individuals for new careers in cloud computing and connects them to potential employers. And, a technology background isn’t required!

Through coursework and hands-on lab exercises, using real-world scenarios, learners can gain the technical skills they need for entry-level cloud roles including cloud support, software testing and support, network engineering, and cloud infrastructure and operations. After 12 weeks of in-person or synchronous virtual training, learners are given the opportunity to validate their skills by taking the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification exam.

AWS re/Start also provides professional skills training such as resume and interview coaching to prepare people for job interviews with local tech employers. Globally, the program connects over 98% of graduates with job interview opportunities.

In May, the first-ever Thai AWS re/Start cohort came together in Bangkok to meet our collaborating organization, xLab Digital, which runs the program locally. Varaporn Chaluaysri, an unemployed former entertainment journalist, was as a member of the first cohort. She had no background in technology, but after dabbling in free online courses in data science, data engineering and data analytics, she recognized how cloud technology is changing the way we work and live: “Cloud services are becoming an essential element that every company must have, and I believe that the AWS re/Start program is an excellent opportunity for me to gain in-depth knowledge of the cloud. This knowledge is free of charge, and I believe it is suitable to gain practical experience and a comprehensive understanding of cloud services, which will offer me new career opportunities. I also believe cloud computing can help solve social and economic challenges in Thailand.”

Tried and tested: ASEAN graduates make the successful pivot to tech

Due to growing demand for digital skills across all ASEAN nations, we have spent the last 18 months rolling out the program in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam with the support and dedication of local collaborating organizations. Together, we have helped people from underrepresented groups, minorities, displaced individuals, refugees, and young adults pivot to cloud computing careers.

On my work travels in ASEAN, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of our AWS re/Start graduates and hearing their personal success stories:

  • After graduating with an Arts degree in Games and Interactive Media Design, Ganesan Mahesan of Malaysia was faced with the challenge of finding a professional job just as the pandemic hit. “During the pandemic, I struggled to find employment in my field. I came across the AWS re/Start program and it was an excellent introduction to core cloud concepts. I was excited to learn new skills.” Through AWS re/Start, Ganesan secured a job with chemical company Evonik as an IT Support Engineer in the Malaysian state of Selangor.
  • Filipino AWS re/Start graduate Eric Relleve took a risk and endured a period of self-imposed unemployment while he figured out what to do next in this career. “I left my previous job with only one goal, to shift my career into tech. I was unemployed, doing self-study, and wondering what tech career path to choose. I got accepted into the AWS re/Start program and committed to the cloud engineering path. AWS re/Start did a 180-degree turn for my career and my life.” Eric is now working at Fujitsu as a Junior Technology Support Engineer in the Philippines capital, Manila.
  • Nguyen Viet Hung had no prior technology experience before he discovered that the AWS re/Start program was on offer in Vietnam. “I was working as a project contractor in the non-technical domain. I had always been interested in making a career in IT but was unable to find a suitable role. The AWS re/Start program gave me the right skills to kick-start my career and get a job at Cloud Kinetics, where I am currently working as a Junior Solutions Architect.” Nguyen is also preparing for his AWS Associate level Solution Architect certification, which will enable him to validate his technical skills and cloud expertise with an industry-recognized credential.

Building a future-ready workforce requires time and investment

A recent Asia Pacific Digital Skills study conducted by Gallup and commissioned by AWS shows that employers in the Asia-Pacific region rely heavily on digital skills, with 82% predicting that digital skills would be very important or extremely important for their business over the next five years.

Meanwhile, a whopping 81% of non-tech workers in ASEAN surveyed by Gallup said they are very interested or extremely interested in receiving training in at least one digital skill, such as artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, or robotics, but 48% of non-tech workers cite a ‘lack of time’ as an obstacle. When asked how the digital skills training they received helped them, 57% of non-tech workers in ASEAN said it made them work more efficiently.

AWS’s commitment to ASEAN’s digital transformation

ASEAN countries are undergoing rapid digital transformation, and our opportunity to become leaders in the digital economy depends on having a robust workforce of skilled professionals to support the incredible pace of innovation.

We will continue to scale our programs like AWS re/Start to nurture a workforce that can harness the power of cloud computing and new technologies in this digital age. Since 2017, AWS has trained over 1 million people across ASEAN with cloud skills, including over 50,000 individuals in Thailand.

As Head of AWS Training and Certification for ASEAN, I talk to organizations every day about their own skills gaps and training needs. From VP Bank in Vietnam, to Halodock HealthTech in Indonesia, these companies are leveraging our AWS Training and Certification programs to equip their workforces with in-demand cloud skills needed right now and in the future.

AWS re/Start is helping create an inclusive and diverse pipeline of cloud talent in a region where the digital economy has emerged from the pandemic stronger than before. Our launches across ASEAN have made a real difference, and we’re excited to finally bring the program to Thailand to drive future innovations for the country and beyond.