Youth putting the ‘spark’ into the Digital agenda

With economic recovery here in France, the technology sector is booming! Future engineers and IT professionals are increasingly coveted by companies. Many software and technology consulting companies have announced major hiring plans, encouraged by a forecast industry growth of 3.5% for 2011.

Today 75% of companies in the IT sector have difficulties in recruiting. Furthermore, enabling IT leadership across sectors is becoming crucial to sustainable growth and innovation. To bridge this gap, engaging youth in the right way is at the forefront of the minds of government and academia. One way in which we can do this more effectively is to provide transparency to job roles of the future and help define skills that are and will be in demand by employers. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest factors driving the economy to evolve apart from demographic change is the impact of technology. Faced with this challenge, Microsoft has implemented a program called S2B, Student to Business, to inspire young people about the potential to use IT in their career.

S2B connects small and medium sized enterprises with university students near graduation who plan to pursue careers in technology. S2B helps inspire local businesses to identify and communicate their competency requirements for new talent; encourages collaboration with Microsoft and local universities; and ensures education and training aligns with business needs, exactly in line with the aims of the EU2020 flagship ‘New Skills for New Jobs’. This program provides students with real world experience – enhancing their career opportunities and establishing a portfolio of skills for the future that will benefit the technology industry and fuel innovation.

In a clever initiative to connect these students participating in the S2B program with a group of early stage BizSpark start-ups (a global program that helps startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software, key investment players and a platform for visibility and networking) who were ready to start recruiting, Microsoft brought together 19 start-ups with 150 technical students to attend a recruitment forum in Paris.  Many start-ups received more than 30 resumes from well qualified candidates with a combination of technical skills, experience, and motivation.   .Net developers in France are a major challenge for startups to recruit therefore this kind of matching mechanism is an ideal set-up for both student and company alike.  These SMEs, entrepreneurs and young IT professionals play a crucial role to steer the direction of the digital economy and meet the goals of the digital agenda for economic growth, inclusion and innovation. Microsoft pioneered a similar innovative skills match between industry and talent pool with partners Dell and Avanade where 250 French students from business and technical schools attended an interactive forum and were exposed to specific technical positions in demand by the companies.  As a result of this second forum Dell recruited 11 students and Avanade 6.  It is these feedback mechanisms between industry and youth that will help keep the next generation on track and the economy fuelled with the right match of talent!

Stay tuned in this space for similar initiatives and examples of youth realizing their potential in a digital era.

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