The Youth2Work roadshow arrived in Dublin today for a second time. The event, hosted by Microsoft and FIT (Fast track to IT), highlighted the career opportunities within the technology sector and the courses available to them through Youth2Work. Developed by Microsoft and FIT, the Youth2Work initiative has equipped 4,500 young people over eighteen months with in-demand skills for the jobs market.

Further to a €3 million investment by Microsoft, Youth2Work aims to engage 10,000 over three years as a means of addressing the youth unemployment issue in Ireland. As the programme reaches the mid way mark it has a target of engaging a further 5,000 youth.

The Youth2Work Roadshow began earlier this year. Today is the second event hosted in Dublin. Other events have been held in Donegal, Monaghan and Athlone and one planned to take place tomorrow in Cork. Attendees get to hear from a range of speakers to enthuse them about a career in IT and taking a new direction. Ciara Losty, Sports Psychologist, Irish Olympic Team spoke to the youth about ‘Maintaining Confidence in Challenging Times’ and Microsoft employees were on hand to provide career advice, interview skills and tips around the use of social media in order to secure a job.

Youth2Work is a programme we at Microsoft are very proud of. Together with FIT we’ve seen 4,500 young people trained through the 261 courses that have run over last eighteen months. Each of the courses has been specially selected to respond to market needs, ensuring that those who complete the course are primed to take positive further steps in their careers, with 61% of graduates in full time education, 17% in the work placement process and 22% now working,” said Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director at Microsoft Ireland.

Recent months have seen the youth unemployment rate in Ireland continue to fall, moving from 25% in August to 24% in September while unemployment lies just in excess of 11%.

The positive results we have seen in Youth2Work are set against a larger narrative of national progress on this issue. While it remains a major problem, we can be certain that this programme and complementary measures taken by Government are working. Today’s roadshow event is all about opening up Youth2Work to the widest possible number of young people as the programme moves into its final phase,” she said.

5,000 youths will be engaged with through the programme this year, with new courses coming on stream in January that will be offered around the country.

A total of 225 course are planned for 2015, with a wide selection of topic areas on offer that are profoundly industry-focused. The feedback we have received to date through the roadshow events we’ve held in Donegal, Athlone, Monaghan and here in Dublin is that job seekers really appreciate that Youth2Work’s priority is on enabling their career success. The emphasis is on people coming away with skills employers need and hence with a profound advantage when it comes to approaching that next job interview, a setting in which confidence is of paramount importance,” said Peter Davitt, CEO FIT.

For those wishing to find out more about the Youth2Work courses or for anyone wishing to find out more about the roadshow, please log onto www.fit.ie.