Growing up in a rural village in northwest China, Yutiao Wang had dreams of breaking free from the monotony of working the fields. The gruelling farm work yielded only about $625 a year, which was not adequate to fund her high school education. Fortunately, through the free lessons provided by Microsoft-Fuping Community Technology Learning Center in Beijing, Yutiao is now armed with the necessary information technology (IT) skills to help her hunt for a job outside of her village and the fields.

Yutiao is one of the many young people who have benefitted from Microsoft’s youth training programme in China. Working together with China Foundation for Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment (CFYEE), Microsoft China successfully launched the IT training programme on 17 September. This programme seeks to enhance the employability and bring out the entrepreneurial capabilities of Chinese youth by educating them on much-needed IT skills. Ralph Haupter, Corporate Vice President and Chief Executive Officer for the Greater China Region at Microsoft; Xu Xiao, Standing Secretary of the Central Committee of the China Communist Youth League (CCYL) and Chairman of CFYEE; Ni Bangwen, Party Secretary of CCYL Central School; and Wang Qing, Secretary General of CFYEE, were among those who attended the launch event.

According to Haupter, the programme will directly and indirectly benefit 8.6 million Chinese youth. Training centres will be set up in 11 provinces and cities, including Beijing, Hebei and Shandong. At these centres, IT training courses will be offered on topics such as using the Internet and various Microsoft Office software that are commonly used in the workplace today. Both organisations are extremely dedicated to this programme: they have invested RMB10 million with the aim to set up at least 100 training centres over the next three years.

“This programme is an important component of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, as it will help to close the opportunity divide among the youth in China and empower them by providing training. We aim to reach at least 50,000 young people here,” said Haupter.

 
Haupter and Xu Xiao unveiling the plaque of the Microsoft *** CFYEE Beijing training centre 

The launch of the IT training programme coincided with YouthSpark’s one-year anniversary, marking the progress Microsoft has made in China in this area.

Today, Yutiao has a job handling administrative duties such as managing the information of clients and trainees. Considering that her first job was in housekeeping, her achievement today is a testament of how IT skills can help underprivileged youth in China widen their career options.

“Microsoft aims to closely align our world-class technologies and resources with China’s key growth priority to develop an innovation and knowledge-based economy,” said Haupter.