YouthSpark project launch: “IT For My Future Career
Tags: youth
11 March 2014

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Microsoft Latvia launched last week a project to increase young people’s competitiveness in the labor market – “IT for My Future Career - in cooperation with the Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA), as well as the Library Network and Ministry of Welfare, Microsoft’s contribution to this YouthSpark projects is 35 000$.

Project concept

According to Eurostat data last year there were more than 20 000 unemployed people in the age of 15 – 24. Although many youth have strong social media skills, they tend to lack IT skills for business. The target of this project is young people in 3 regions of Latvia with the highest youth unemployment rate with the goal to improve their skills and prospects.

Through the project in Kurzeme, Zemgale and Latgale districts, 200 young people will take part in teaching sessions where they will learn how to apply IT skills in the business environment and their future career, e.g., Office 365 tools, as well as digital marketing tools, etc. After instructional seminars, each of the 200 participants will pass their knowledge to 5 other people, thus strengthening their IT and leadership skills, as well. Overall with this approach it is planned to educate 1200 people.

Launch event

The project was launched during the opening event of Get Online Week (GOW) 2013, as this year GOW concentrates on IT skills for youth and their competitiveness. Ēriks Eglītis, CM, Microsoft Latvia, participated in the event together with public sector and industry leaders who have joined to promote IT skills and competitiveness in Latvia.

Ēriks Eglītis, CM, Microsof Latvia, stated that nowadays youth feel very comfortable when it comes to “surfing” the internet or using social networks, but they lack skills needed for the work environment, e.g. collaboration tools, video conferencing skills and other productivity tools. Mr. Eglitis described Microsoft’s commitment to youth, the YouthSpark project and its goals.

Among the participants of the GOW opening event were:

•Signe Bāliņa, President of LIKTA

•Inna Šteinbuka, Head of EC Representation in Latvia,

• Sanda Liepiņa, State Secretary, MoEducation, MoEconomics,

• Raitis Imša, Deputy Director, Employment State Agency,

• Jānis Endziņš, Head, Latvian Chamber of Commerce

Several IT industry business leaders were also present.

The participants signed an “eSkills Partnership Memorandum” with the goal to search and implement solutions to promote eSkills of youth and competitiveness, promotion of youth interest in ICT, development of digital and interactive content in education, e-inclusion.

Project Partners Coments on the Project:

Signe Bāliņa, President of LIKTA: “This project is crucial in order to stimulate youth employment. Additionally, leading IT, marketing, branding sector specialists will share their knowledge and experience to encourage these youngsters to focus more on IT field. No doubt that after taking part in this project they will be more prepared for labor market or even develop their own business.”

Viņķele, the Minister of Welfare: “Due to this type of socially responsible project, our youth will be able to gain and improve skills necessary for their future careers as well as increase their competitiveness in labor market.” She also emphasized that this initiative conforms with European Vacancy Report 2012, which indicates that in future there will be deficiency of IT consultants, programmers and other IT related professions in European labor market.

Media highlights

In total there were more than 30 publications on YouthSpark project launch in traditional, regional and digital media, as well as meaningful social media engagement