Microsoft inks deal with UK armed forces to support veterans with free digital skills training

Emily Nicolle
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Microsoft CEO Cindy Rose and Mark Lancaster MP sealed the deal this morning
Microsoft CEO Cindy Rose and Mark Lancaster MP sealed the deal this morning (Source: Microsoft)

Software giant Microsoft has today become the most recent firm to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, committing to providing training and support to the UK’s current and former military men and women.

During a special event to commemorate the occasion at its UK headquarters, Microsoft agreed to offer all veterans free skills training to help them get a career in the technology sector, as well as a 10 per cent discount on all products for military personnel.

The move is part of Microsoft’s Digital Skills Programme, which aims to teach digital skills to people across the UK in order to further cement the country’s future as a global leader in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other innovative technologies.

Other big tech firms already on the list include Amazon and Google, which signed the Covenant in 2015 and 2013 respectively.

The news follows Microsoft's acquisition of code-sharing repository Github last week, in a deal worth $7.5bn (£5.6bn).

Read more: Microsoft buys Github for $7.5bn

Microsoft’s UK CEO Cindy Rose said:

This is an important moment for Microsoft and its staff in the UK. I am delighted that we are recognising the crucial work of members of the Armed Forces and helping them and their families.

This also brings huge benefits to Microsoft, a proud employer of military reservists and veterans in the UK. The technical and leadership skills that those who serve their country bring to our business are incredibly valuable, and I am honoured to work alongside them.

As part of the Covenant, Microsoft has also pledged to encourage military spouses to apply for roles at the firm by offering flexible working patterns, and support reservists within Microsoft by providing them with 10 days paid leave to undertake annual mandatory training.

On Poppy Day, Microsoft has said it will match all funds collected on their behalf by employees to donate to armed forces charitable organisations.

Minister of state for the armed forces Mark Lancaster said that Microsoft’s signing of the covenant demonstrates international support for the UK’s military personnel.

He added that the government is continuing to build on its cyber capabilities for countering intensifying threats, and that “it is companies like Microsoft that we look to support and develop our Reservists to ensure we remain at the cutting edge”.

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