Yesterday in Cavan, Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland, Peter Davitt, CEO of FIT (Fastrack to IT) and Martin O’Brien, CEO Cavan Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB), joined Aogán Ó Fearghail, Uachtarán CLG, and a range of local employers, representatives of civil society, and sports enthusiasts to launch the third year of Youth2Work and a collaboration with the GAA.

Youth2Work is an initiative created by Microsoft and FIT to inform and equip 10,000 young people with technology skills which are in demand by employers all across Ireland. With an investment of €3m from Microsoft, the programme is ahead of its targets with 7,800 young people either trained, in further education, employment or in training right now after the first two years.

Moving into year three, Microsoft and FIT have an ambition to grow the programme and reach even more than the planned 10,000 young participants. To help achieve this the GAA is joining the initiative as a partner to help introduce Youth2Work to local communities in Cavan and Monaghan.

The partnership is beginning today with a pilot of Youth2Work being launched across Cavan and Monaghan with the support of CMETB. From September there will be ten courses operating in the CMETB region with 200 places available to youth aged 18 – 25.

The courses will take place in a range of locations in Cavan and Monaghan including both Further Education Institutes / Centres and contracted training centres. The courses will focus on equipping youth to commence careers in areas such as Cloud Computing; Mobile Technologies; eBusiness; Business Administration; PC Maintenance; Software Development and Multimedia and Web Development.

For the duration of the pilot in CMETB region in partnership with the GAA, Microsoft and FIT will:

  • Drive awareness of the opportunities that IT can bring to young people – helping them to pursue careers, ideally with a business in their local community.
  • Urge more young people to consider IT as a career of choice by creating awareness of the range of IT courses endorsed by Youth2Work and the kinds of jobs that are available.
  • Build knowledge amongst small businesses in towns across Ireland about the role that technology can play in helping companies to get online and grow.
  • By creating Irish digital communities, it is hoped that employment will be generated in towns across the country. The objective will be to link Youth2Work graduates with these employment opportunities to help drive growth and expansion of Irish businesses nationwide.

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland, said: “Working in concert with FIT, Microsoft is delighted with the progress delivered over the past couple of years on Youth2Work, with 7,800 young people either trained or in training right now. By adding a new partnership with the GAA to the mix, we are confident that we will be able to surpass our 10,000-participant target.”

“We are delighted to commence this exciting development of the Youth2Work initiative in Cavan and Monaghan with the support and collaboration of CMETB and the GAA. Our shared goal is to create healthy and sustainable communities by delivering IT skills to young people and equipping them to work in the technology industry or in IT-focused roles in businesses across all sectors. This year Microsoft is celebrating 30 years in Ireland, so it is an honour to be joining forces with the Irish institution that is the GAA to tackle an issue as important as youth unemployment.”

Speaking at the announcement today Martin O’Brien, CEO, Cavan Monaghan ETB said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Microsoft, FIT and the GAA in rolling out this project across Cavan and Monaghan. Youth unemployment is a problem across the country particularly in rural Ireland and we’re looking forward to evaluating the impact of Youth2Work in this region. I’d encourage all youths to get in touch with FIT directly or Cavan Monaghan ETB to learn more about how you can get involved in one of the planned courses.”

For those wishing to find out more about Youth2Work, please log on to www.fit.ie and follow #Youth2Work.

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