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Microsoft turns jobs centres into tech hubs to improve youngsters IT skills

07 Nov 2012
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Microsoft has launched a new skills programme in the UK to improve young people's IT skills and digital literacy.

The Get On programme includes a number of different initiatives to help young people "get inspired, get skilled and get a job", said Hugh Milward, Microsoft head of corporate affairs, in an interview with V3.

The programme is set to help 300,000 16 to 24 year olds take steps toward work and the start of a career over the next three years, through a combination of education and training, apprenticeships and work experience.

"To help young people get inspired we will be working with UK Youth, who run youth job centres around the country, and we will turn 30 of these into tech tubs," said Milward.

"We will fill them with IT equipment, software and resources, and we will provide free mentors to help get young people comfortable with the technology."

According to Milward the hardware will be from a variety of suppliers, but the software will all be from Microsoft.

Additionally Microsoft will greatly extend its apprenticeship programme to help graduates gain a job in IT.

"We are partnering up with e-Skills and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) to match graduates with jobs or internships in the technology industry," said Milward.

"We are stretching our target number of apprenticeships to 6000 over the next three years. This is more than doubling the 2,500 apprenticeships we filled over the last three years."

Apprentices gain job-specific skills including Microsoft certifications whilst earning a wage at a Microsoft Partner business.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, will be meeting the prime minister, David Cameron, to launch the Get On programme later on Wednesday.

The new Microsoft programme follows the launch of V3's Make IT Better campaign, a skills campaign designed to better IT education across the UK, and equip the next-generation workforce with the right technology skills to boost British business.

In related news, IT services firm Accenture has launched a new IT apprenticeship programme for young people in the north east of England. Accenture will offer 40 three-year apprenticeships over the next three months.

The apprenticeship scheme is aimed at those who are not going to university but instead want to learn on the job while receiving formal training that helps them work towards a qualification

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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