It seems like every month brings a new survey with the same finding: Workers want upskilling in artificial intelligence, but there’s a significant gap between the share of workers who want that upskilling and the share of workers who have received it.
In April of this year, PwC announced that it would invest $1 billion in generative AI over the next three years for its US operations, an investment that includes plans to upskill its employees. We spoke with Leah Houde, PwC’s chief learning officer, about the training programs the professional-services company is developing to prepare its workforce for generative AI. Here are excerpts from that conversation, edited for length and clarity.
How is PwC upskilling its employees for AI?
The first bucket of learning that we're rolling out is for everyone, for all of our 75,000 people. Our goal is getting our people to understand what generative AI is and how to use it—what I would consider some of the basics—and how to use it responsibly, ethically. How to question the things that are coming back, recognizing how large language models are built, how they can have bias, how they can hallucinate, and how we need to continue bringing our independent thinking to whatever the AI is giving us back. So it's what it is, how we can use it, and how we still need to be involved.
What format will that learning be?
We have a couple of different approaches that we're using. One is a speaker series, using thought leaders, both inside the AI space but also from different genres of people who might be using AI, so that our people can get a view into how people can use it outside of the technical, ‘what is it, how does it works’ sorts of things. So that's piece number one—it's generating awareness and interest, but also just some baseline knowledge.
We've also gamified it. We're running trivia games every month and giving people study guides for the trivia game—things to read, things to watch, short eLearns to take, that will help them prepare. We do have some required learning programs that we are going to ask people to show up for, like responsible use of AI and prompting techniques, so that when we get into it, we're really setting that baseline for everybody. So it's a little bit of things that we are requiring people to do and then really trying to motivate people to dig in further.
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