Youth employment remains a major challenge in Vietnam, where many young people still lack the critical technical skills needed to meet the labour demands of a fast-growing economy. According to a report by the International Labour Organization (2012), 46 percent of the country’s unemployed are youth, aged 15 to 24.
In Vietnam, where the majority of young people live in rural areas, there is added impetus to bridge the technology divide and provide more opportunities for students to achieve a basic level of digital literacy. According to a survey conducted by nonprofit organisation Vietnet-ICT in 2014, 50 percent of students in the country’s most underserved communities, such as the Bac Giang and Lao Cai provinces, do not own a personal computer and have limited access to the Internet and other IT resources.
To help boost youth employment in Vietnam, Microsoft is collaborating with Vietnet-ICT to hold IT training courses in conjunction with the launch of the Youth Training and Innovation Centre (YTIC), located at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.
Since the initiative’s launch in 2012, about 700 youth have attended courses, which are conducted in various schools located across eight provinces, to hone their computing knowledge and other relevant professional skills. Microsoft also plans to conduct a series of basic coding lessons and activities—such as hosting an Open Day event in Hanoi during this year’s Asia Pacific WeSpeakCode campaign in April—to drive interest among local students in coding as a springboard to future employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Khoa Pham, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft Vietnam, said, “We have been working closely with Vietnet-ICT to develop the training curriculum, with a strong emphasis on capacity building and providing disadvantaged youth with a conducive environment to learn at their own pace. The YTIC programme can help raise awareness among both teachers and students about the growing significance of technology in the jobs of tomorrow.”
Ha Phuong, an economics student at Hue University, is one of the young people who has benefitted from the training, and gained a new perspective on how IT competency can better equip them for future employment.
“Through participating in the training sessions, I picked up valuable computing skills that will be useful to my future career development, such as learning how to compose a proper email and use social media to showcase my capabilities to potential employers,” said Ha Phuong.