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KPMG teams with Microsoft to teach free AI, cybersecurity skills

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade this fall is set to launch its own training program for executives who are members
KPMG Canada's regional managing partner Walter Pela is also senior vice-chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver executives and corporate board members are about to have new opportunities to learn Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, stay current and ideally prosper from rapidly improving new technologies.

KPMG Canada and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT) are partnering to provide free virtual training as part of an initiative they dub the Operational Risk Skills Development Centre. Separately, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) this fall plans to launch in-person training on AI.

That is according to Walter Pela, KPMG Canada's regional managing partner for Vancouver and senior vice-chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. 

Pela let news about the KPMG-MIcrosoft initiative slip yesterday, while he was on a panel at the end of his company's AI summit 2.0 – one that included Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, and executives such as Sanctuary AI co-founder Olivia Norton, D-Wave Quantum Inc. vice-president Murray Thom and Microsoft vice-president and Vancouver general manager David Seymour.

"You can register, and it's complimentary, so it is not for a fee" Pela told BIV after the panel. "It's self paced, and there is a virtual in-person component, in the sense that it is not in person but there is a live component and the rest is self-paced. It is foundational training."

He said some of the modules are specifically on
• AI;
• Microsoft's AI tool Copilot; and
• cybersecurity as it relates to AI.

Students are then able to print a certificate to show that they have completed the program, which has a registration website.

KPMG Canada put out a press release this morning that said that the program was specifically aimed at C-suite executives and board directors although Pela did not mention those restrictions in a quick chat with BIV. Small-business owners and other members of the public might be able to register. 

KPMG Canada first launched this centre in November 2023 in Quebec, with French-language lessons so this initiative announced at the Vancouver AI summit is the second leg of this program. 

"Generative AI represents a significant opportunity and with the expansion of the Operational Risk Skills Development Centre's curriculum to business leaders across Canada, we are helping Canadian organizations realize the full potential of AI," said John Weigelt, national technology officer of Microsoft Canada.

The GVBOT's program this fall to educate members about AI and rapidly changing technologies has yet to have flesh on its bones on exactly what will be covered.

"That's going to be in person, facilitated training for members only," Pela said. "That will be a program and there would be a cost to members. It is tentatively set to start in the fall."

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