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Since: 23.03.2010

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Empowering Youth

Empowering youth for a stronger Europe

In a complex and changing economy, we believe that investing in skills and training is front and centre to Europe’s ability to innovate, drive sustainable growth and enhance workforce employability. We believe young people are vital to Europe’s competitiveness. As economies evolve, workforces need to evolve as well and ICT skills have been defined as high-priority 21st century skills. According to the IDC, by 2015, 90% of jobs will require e-skills. At Microsoft, we empower youth by providing them with access to technology and connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment, & entrepreneurship. We aim to drive e-inclusion, target industry demand and broaden employment opportunities at all stages of the career. We deliver basic ICT competencies in addition to a portfolio of high-level skills, such as cloud-based skills, relevant across a range of different careers and professions.

By working together with governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses - we are dedicated to helping the young generation realize their full potential. We believe that a ‘digitally competent’, innovative and entrepreneurial young generation will boost innovation, increase competitiveness and help fuel the European economy.

The Empowering Youth page on our website showcases Microsoft youth-dedicated programmes and their impact at European level and most importantly, at national level in various EU Member States.

The recently launched Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, unites longstanding programs aimed at helping young people to reach their full potential. During the Microsoft YouthSpark launch, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer clearly reinforced Microsoft’s objective to empower youth: “Through Microsoft YouthSpark we are making a commitment to help 300 million young people around the world achieve their dreams by focusing our citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. We believe that working with our partners we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that.”

Key initiatives and programmes enabling the development of digital skills and competences:

  • Microsoft Innovate for Good, a global online community enabling youth to collaborate, inspire and support one another while using technology to make a difference in their communities.
  • Partners in Learning. A professional development program for government officials, school leaders and educators to help them with new approaches to teaching and learning, using technology to help students develop 21st century skills
  • Microsoft IT Academy. A career-ready education program available to all accredited academic institutions, providing students with 21st century technology
  • DreamSpark. Free access to Microsoft designer and developer tools for students and educators, helping advance key technical skills during the high school and college years, a critical time in a student’s development.
  • Imagine Cup. The world’s premier youth technology competition, which challenges students to apply their knowledge and passion to develop technical solutions for social impact, to develop engaging games, and to demonstrate innovation that can benefit others, local communities and the world
  • Students to Business. A program that matches university students with jobs or internships in the technology industry
  • BizSpark: A software startup program, providing young entrepreneurs with access to Microsoft software development tools and connections with key industry players, including investors, to help them start a new business.
  • Microsoft Innovation Centres, a hub for technology centers are offering a comprehensive set of programs and services to foster innovation and grow sustainable local software economies
  • DigiGirlz, Microsoft’s: DigiGirlz programs give high school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.