Microsoft launches three-year programme to help tackle youth unemployment

Microsoft has launched 'Get On', a new programme offering young people in the UK the skills and inspiration they need to succeed in getting that all important first job. With youth unemployment currently at 1.02 million1, Get On 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, through a combination of education and training, apprenticeships and work experience.

The launch comes soon after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met with Rt Hon David Cameron to discuss how Microsoft can work even more closely with Government to help young people get the skills they need, create opportunities to find jobs and, with that, develop a highly skilled workforce for the future.

The Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister said:

"To succeed in the global race, and boost the UK economy, it is vital that we give young people every opportunity to work hard and get on in life. 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."

Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft 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. As part of our recently announced global companywide 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 and build a rewarding career."

Microsoft's 'Get On' programme will help young people, Get Inspired, Get Skilled and Get a Job, helping to create opportunities no matter what stage they are at. Specifically the programme includes three core elements:

Get Inspired

  • Work inspiration sessions - Through Microsoft volunteers and working with youth employability organisations, Microsoft is providing work inspiration sessions to help young people gain confidence about the world of work, making the most of their talents, and connecting them with opportunities.
  • Partnership with UK Youth - Microsoft is building the IT capacity of 30 youth clubs right across the UK, creating opportunities for local young people to develop their IT skills, and become peer educators in their communities.
  • Online resources - Through online resources such as Pathways Curriculum Downloads, Microsoft is helping young people to signpost directly into IT skills or employment opportunities.

Get Skilled

  • Pre-apprenticeship training - Working with organisations that help those not in education, employment or training (NEETS) and those with limited qualifications to provide resources and training to help motivate and develop the skills of people who leave school with fewer than five GCSEs. This is in addition to Microsoft's current Apprenticeship programme, which has already placed more than 2500 people into work.
  • IT Academies - Microsoft is working with academic institutions enabling them to prepare students with future ready technology skills and certifications, including computer science qualifications, to help them be fit and ready for today's workplace.
  • Technology in schools - As well as working with teachers to teach technology, Microsoft is using technology in the classroom to improve lessons across the curriculum, for example using Kinect to engage and motivate students.

Get a job

  • Apprenticeships - Microsoft is helping to provide the first step to a successful career in IT and helping to tackle the skills shortage. Level 3 Apprentices gain job-specific skills including Microsoft certifications whilst earning a wage at a Microsoft Partner business.
  • 'Students to Business' - Providing a direct path between University students and Microsoft's partners. This programme takes graduates interviewed but not hired by Microsoft each year and matches them with jobs or internships in the technology industry, within Microsoft's 30,000 strong partner community, which employs more than 500,000 people in the UK.

In 2009, at the height of the economic crisis, Microsoft made the decision to use its reach in the UK to create new job opportunities and provide training for people who were looking to kick start their career, making a pledge to help get half a million people into work by the end of 2012. To date, Microsoft's Britain Works programme has directly helped 470,895 towards work, many of whom are aged between 16-24 years. 'Get On' builds on the lessons learnt and commitments made through Britain Works, with a particular focus on young people. It is part of the company's global initiative – Microsoft YouthSpark -to create opportunities for 300 million young people in the next three years.

Microsoft has been present and investing in the UK for more than 30 years. During that time, the company has helped to create thousands of jobs, partnered with more than 30,000 small and medium sized businesses, created a world class R&D centre in Cambridge, and a thriving group of industry leading games studios.

For more information or to sign up for Get On programmes, please visit:

Facebook: Twitter: @getonUK #GetOn Web:

Specific targets

Get On will help 300,000 people over three years through a number of initiatives including the below. We plan to build on this over the life of the programme.

  • Work inspiration sessions will help 30,000 young people
  • Pre-apprenticeship training will help 10,000 young people
  • IT Academies will help over 220,000 students
  • UK Youth partnership will reach 6,000 young people
  • Apprenticeships will help 4,000 young people
  • Students to Business will help 1,000 graduates
  • Tech Learning Resources will help 30,000 young people

by Howard Timberlake
Microsoft UK Enterprise Team