YouthSpark Techsperts: Transforming Graduates to IT Experts


Ever felt unprepared to take on a big project that is beyond your scope?

This uncertainty is all-too-common among any youth entering the workforce, and especially so for those keen on pursuing a career in sales and technology in a place where there is a lack of emphasis on IT and sales skills.

To help improve the employability of youth in the IT service sector, Microsoft collaborated with nonprofit organisation Kenan Institute Asia to organise a five-week-long Microsoft YouthSpark Techsperts programme in Thailand and Vietnam. As a nonprofit with vast experiences in project management and capacity development, Kenan’s expertise was instrumental in attracting 80 students for the pilot programme in both countries.

Participants at the launch ceremony of Microsoft YouthSpark Techsperts programme in Vietnam

Participants at the launch ceremony of Microsoft YouthSpark Techsperts programme in Vietnam

The course offered classes on employability and sales skills, which included communication, basic entrepreneurship and career planning skills; technical training sessions on Microsoft solutions and IT; and internship programmes with several Microsoft retail partners. Upon completing the course successfully, the participants emerged as Techsperts—certified and qualified to serve as Microsoft Brand Ambassadors.

The participants show off their certificates upon their successful completion of YouthSpark TechSperts.

The participants show off their certificates upon their successful completion of YouthSpark TechSperts.

One of the great successes at the Techsperts programme came from a student named Pachara Kaenchan from Thailand, who lost his self-confidence and became increasingly withdrawn as a result of dropping out of school due to health issues a few years ago. However, he overcame his slump and stepped out of his comfort zone by joining the YouthSpark Techsperts’ sales pitch competition, which involved delivering a two-minute sales pitch in front of a group of at least 50 people.

Pachara Kaenchan successfully overcame his fear of public speaking and is ready to embark on his journey as an IT sales professional.

Pachara Kaenchan successfully overcame his fear of public speaking and is ready to embark on his journey as an IT sales professional.

“Even though I did not emerge as the champion, I gained a far more valuable experience than winning. I managed to get over my fear of public speaking,” said Kaenchan. “After joining the programme, my communication skills have improved by leaps and bounds. I’ve learnt so much from this programme, and I am much more confident of my capabilities as a Microsoft Techspert now.”

Three youth participants—Kanyarat Krudpisamai, Thanongsak Sangwong and Sirirat Atthasingha—also manage to secure full-time jobs in the IT service sector when the programme ended. They are now working at the IT City in Thailand, one of Microsoft’s retail partners.

On the other hand, participants such as Le Viet Duc and Lai Thu Huyen from Vietnam, managed to gain employment in different industries by applying what they learned at the Techsperts programme.

“I’m currently working part-time at Dai Thang Construction and Commerce Company, where my key roles include data entry and analysis. Thanks to the presentation skills I picked up, I feel confident presenting my data analysis to the managers,” said Lai Thu Huyen. Le Viet Duc also attributed his ability perform his tasks well—which include selling transportation and tourism tickets, and providing customer care—to the selling and communication skills he acquired from the Techspert programme.

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Kanyarat Krudpisamai is now a qualified Techspert working at IT City in Thailand.

 

Judging from the high satisfaction rate of the participants and Microsoft retailer partners, it seems that any lingering feelings of uncertainty will become a thing of the past for these participants.

 

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