Microsoft has picked UK Youth as its charity of choice to help spread the positive message about a career in IT.
Under the partnership, Microsoft will help provide access to training, work experience and apprenticeships for all 750,000 UK Youth members as it battles to ensure a steady stream of talent into the IT industry, and also looks to help disadvantaged youngsters get a foot on the career ladder.
The vendor, which is marking 30 years of commitment to the UK market, will also adopt 30 youth clubs across the country, provide them with a technology makeover and mentors to turn them into Microsoft Youth Hubs, giving the youngsters who visit the clubs access to resources and learn essential life skills.
Youth clubs are being invited to apply for this accolade from September.
Charlotte Hill, chief executive of UK Youth, said: “Lots of learning takes place beyond mainstream school and it is this vital 'non-formal' activity that we focus on. This programme is a fantastic and timely addition to our work. We want to ensure that as many young people in our network as possible are able to progress in the digital age, especially those who have limited access to IT. No business is better placed to help us do this than Microsoft."
Neil Thompson, general manager of consumer channels at Microsoft, added: “Young people are the future of the UK’s economic and social success and we believe that Microsoft has a responsibility to play its part in helping prepare them with the skills, inspiration and know-how they need.
"Microsoft already works with young people in schools, training and through our apprenticeship and work experience programmes, but for those who have fallen away from formal education, we felt we could do more. UK Youth does an outstanding job of helping these individuals by providing informal learning opportunities and we are looking forward to working with them to help make a difference.”
Each UK Youth Hub will train up to three selected young people to become "IT Champions" who will be given support to develop their own IT skills with a view to helping upskill others, all of whom have limited access to technology. IT Champions will be overseen by a youth worker who will receive training and support from a Microsoft volunteer.
Microsoft has been a champion of youth employment since it launched its government-backed apprentice scheme back in 2009 as part of the Britain Works initiative. Under this scheme, the vendor is planning to get 3,000 channel apprentices in work by next year.
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