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Microsoft's centre for underprivileged youth in Delhi

Posted on Nov 28, 06:20PM | IANS

An Information Technology (IT) based skill development centre working towards empowering underprivileged youths was launched here Wednesday by Microsoft India, which also awarded cash grants worth USD 350,000 to the country's NGOs.

The 'YouthSpark' centre launched under Microsoft's new global initiative has been set up in East of Kailash in south Delhi and is the first among 10 similar centres that will be coming up across the country over the next 18 months for youths between 16 to 24 years.

"The theme of this centre is IT and likewise each centre will focus on one trade led enterprise - like retail, hospitality, automobiles etc.," Sanket Akerkar, managing director of Microsoft India, told IANS.

Offering training on basic IT skills, spoken English, personality development and job preparedness, etc. from each batch of students, a select few will be trained in a simulated set-up, and encouraged to start their own group enterprises.

"We expect this YouthSpark centre will allow 80,000 youth to be trained over three years - of which we expect 65,000 to find employment through placement drives and alliances with potential employers - and 15,000 to start their own enterprises," said Jean-Philippe Courtois, president, Microsoft International.

Two local NGOs, who would be training the youths at the centre -- Aide et Action and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme -- were allocated USD 250,000 for the year.

The government has set the target of skilling 500 million people by the year 2022. So, nurturing employability and the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst youth has never been more imperative, said Akerkar.