MoD taps AWS for skills training amid digital transformation struggle

The exterior of the Ministry of Defence
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected AWS to support its digital skills programme for the next three years, after a report recently found that the ministry was severely lacking in digital skills.

AWS is now set to deliver digital skills development and training to thousands of MoD personnel across its military and civilian workforce through the ministry’s Digital Skills for Defence programme.

The MoD hopes the collaboration will equip its leaders and wider supply chain with data and digital skills to defend the country from emerging threats.

The partnership will see the cloud giant provide training resources to support the Digital Foundry, a hub in Defence Digital aiming to harness emerging technology to tackle defence challenges. AWS will also create a tailored programme for senior leaders responsible for implementing the MoD’s digital transformation.

The pair claimed that the agreement is the first of its kind globally, and is part of a wider UK government programme with the cloud giant that aims to boost digital skills.

“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,” said Charles Forte, chief information officer at the MoD.

“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 National Audit Office (NAO) discovered in October 2022 that the MoD doesn’t have enough employees with the right digital skills to support its digital strategy.

The ministry was finding it hard to recruit and retain talent, with technologists viewing the MoD as 'bureaucratic'. The NAO said that the ministry faced ongoing challenges with its major technology programmes and acquiring scarce digital skills, and needed a clear plan for prioritising resources to deliver digital transformation.


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AWS and the MoD have signed a memorandum of understanding which they said will enable deeper collaboration and equip leaders with “game-changing technical skills” to preserve a business and military advantage.

The MoD has a Digital Defence Strategy which aims to meet three goals by 2025 so it can adapt the ministry to the digitisation of warfare. It’s aiming to create a digital backbone, where it has the right tech and employees, a digital foundry, a software and data analytics centre, and an agile community of digital specialists.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.