The computer skills programme focuses on providing access to technology and employment

Jamuna Devi dropped out of school after class X in 2010 because of problems at home.

Today, she works as a salesperson at a retail outlet in Perambur and knows how to operate various computer programmes, the internet and speak English.

She hopes the skills she picked up at Community Technology Learning Centre run by Microsoft and Aid et Action in Perambur will help her get a promotion at work someday.

Microsoft’s community technology skills programme, which was launched in 2004 in India and 2005 in Chennai, focuses on providing access to technology and employment.

Their new programme ‘Youth Spark’, which will run parallelly, will additionally focus on holistic education and developing entrepreneurship skills, says Akhtar Badshah, senior director, citizenship and public affairs, Microsoft Corporation.

“Through the ‘Youth spark’ initiative, we want to train 1.5 lakh students. Close to 70 per cent students have secured jobs in the IT, hospitality, and automobile sectors among others,” he said, adding that they would be starting a Youth Spark centre in Chennai soon.

The programme, which concentrates on those in the age group of 18-30 years, spans three months, says Aishwarya Mahajan, regional head, livelihood education, Aide et Action International-south Asia, which has partnered with Microsoft to run the three centres in Perambur, Manali and Tiruvottiyur.

Most students, they observe, join the programme with minimum or no basic computer knowledge or skills. M. Sridhar says he finished schooling in 2005 and now works in a textile company.

“I have taken a three month break from work to learn computer skills. My employer has promised a hike in salary if I pick up computer skills,” he says.

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