Computing company Microsoft is to create 300,000 training and work opportunities in the UK to help combat high youth unemployment.
The scheme is directly targeted at 16-24 year olds, who have been hit hard by the recession, with more than 20% unemployed.
The company will provide:
- 220,000 online technology training modules for students to help prepare them for today's job needs
- 10,000 'pre-apprenticeship' training opportunities, typically meaning help to pass five GCSEs, sufficient to enter work training programmes
- 4,000 apprenticeships
- 1,000 graduate training scheme jobs
The rest of the opportunities will be made up of work experience placements, work shadowing existing Microsoft employees and online training.
In a departure from usual recruitment practice, the company will recommend good candidates who apply unsuccessfully for jobs to other companies it works with.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's Chief Executive, said: “In these difficult economic times, the best investment we can make is in our young people, to help them develop the skills and creativity they need to create our economic and social future.”
He added the new programme, called 'Get On’, would “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 and build a rewarding career”.
The Prime Minister backed the programme. “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,” he said.