Making the most of Microsoft YouthSpark Summit

Microsoft is one of the world’s champions in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and YouthSpark proves it. The huge programme aims to create new work opportunities for 300 million young men and women by 2015. After two years of activity and facing the challenge of year three, Microsoft invited its strategic partners to its head office in Redmond, Washington, on April 30 - May 2, 2014.

Laurentiu Bunescu attended the event and represented Telecentre Europe as a YouthSpark grantee and one of the strategic NGO partners of Microsoft in Europe. Telecentre Europe’s journey from its early beginning and even beyond that, when the European network of telecentres was just an idea, has been strongly connected with Microsoft’s vision to empower people (especially the young) to realize their full potential through technology.

So far it has been quite a journey which has impacted hundreds of thousands of young Europeans across the continent, a journey that continues to be exciting through the YouthSpark programme.

Within YouthSpark, Telecentre Europe raises awareness on digital skills required for the 21st century workplace by organizing campaigns, events and by working with its network of NGO members. Get Online Week and Get certified. Get a job. campaigns are both good examples on how telecentres are contributing to the overall goals of YouthSpark.

The YouthSpark Summit has been a great opportunity for Telecentre Europe to learn what else is happening on the globe, but also to reconnect with member organizations from Europe (Fundacion Esplai, PH International, Langas I Ateiti, Fondazione Mondo Digitale or HEPIS).

The two-day event gives a chance to share and hear inspiring stories from young people impacted by YouthSpark, stories that formed the ground base for open discussions on how we can all work together to boost available resources in more communities, or how to create new resources.

Below are a few event conclusions that stuck in our minds during the event and after, and that might be interesting for Telecentre Europe network as well:

  • Coding is the language of the future . Many telecentres already started teaching their users coding, but most are just starting, so there’s more to be done, especially targeting young people and children.
  • YouthSpark Hub is an online bank of resources useful for organizations working with young people. Member organizations of Telecentre Europe and the European telecentres are all invited to make full use of the platform.
  • Awareness raising campaigns like the Get Online Week are still crucial to get visibility in those hard-to-reach communities and to young people that are not enrolled in mainstream education.

Join Microsoft in deepening the impact for youth by visiting www.microsoft.com/youthspark and learn more about how you can connect youth to tools and resources that will help them find opportunity today. Telecentre Europe is committed to assist its member organizations to proactively contribute to YouthSpark.

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