Microsoft gets Cameron's backing in youth employment drive

Microsoft is continuing its drive against UK youth unemployment with the backing of prime minister David Cameron.

The company's "Get On" programme aims to help 300,000 16-24 year olds take "meaningful steps toward work and the start of a career over the next three years". Redmond will provide a combination of education and training, apprenticeships and work experience to do it.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met Cameron this week to discuss how Microsoft can work closely with government to help young people get the skills they need.

Cameron said, "Microsoft’s Get On campaign is exactly the kind of support we need from business to inspire, provide skills and create meaningful opportunities in the industries that will drive our economy forward in the future."

Ballmer said, "As part of our recently announced global company-wide commitment to youth - Microsoft YouthSpark - our Get On programme in the UK will connect young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship so they can develop the confidence and skills required to compete in a global market."

Microsoft will provide "work inspiration sessions", work with youth clubs, provide online resources and pre-apprenticeship training, support IT academies and technology in schools. The company will also help young people get Microsoft skills certifications and help students get jobs with its business partners.

In 2009 Microsoft made a pledge to help get half a million people into work by the end of 2012. To date, the tech giant cliams its Britain Works programme has directly helped 470,895 people "towards work", many of whom are aged between 16-24 years.

The new Microsoft programme does not include a fixed number of jobs or apprenticeships offered at the company itself.

Outsourcer Capgemini UK recently said it is more than doublingits intake of IT apprentices in 2012 to just over 200, and plans a further increase in 2013. The company says there has been a "surge of applications" from school leavers "seeking an economically attractive alternative to university".

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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