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Microsoft sparks change for Vietnam’s disadvantaged youth

Over 600 disadvantaged young people have been benefited this year thanks to a new venture between Microsoft and vocational training charity REACH that will provide coding and ICT training to Vietnam’s most marginalised youth.

The project was announced at an event at REACH’s Hà Nội center on Tuesday as part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark program, a global initiative that aims to empower young people by equipping them with computer science skills.

Speaking at the event, Global Director of YouthSpark Programs Ms. Yvonne Thomas, outlined the importance of Microsoft’s support for the project.

“As technology has become an integral part of people’s daily lives around the world, we’re seeing a growing demand – from students, parents, teachers, governments, and nonprofits – to teach youth not only how to use technology, but also how to create technology to help them become the innovators and drivers of growth and opportunity in their communities,” Ms. Thomas said.

“We believe all young people – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds - should have a chance to access to computer science education so they can learn this foundational subject matter and develop the computational-thinking and problem-solving skills that are critical for their future,” she said. 

Under the project, Microsoft provided financial, curriculum and technical support to roll out coding training to 240 disadvantaged students currently enrolled in REACH’s web and graphic design course in northern and central Vietnam and a 3D modelling class in Hanoi.  

Around 460 other students undergoing training in REACH’s food and beverage, sales and marketing and housekeeping courses will also be provided with ICT training, including skills using the Microsoft Office suite, to enhance their employability.

Asia Regional Director of Microsoft Philanthropies Dr. Daiana Beitler added that students would also be participating in Hour of Code, a free online tutorial for students and educators that teaches coding using a wide range of games and exercises. 

Also speaking at the event, REACH Executive Director Pham Thi Thanh Tam said that the partnership would play an important role in helping Vietnam’s most disadvantaged youth get their foot in the door in Vietnam’s increasingly competitive job market.

“The REACH model is predicated on evolving with the market and providing what employers need,” said Ms. Pham. “With support from industry-leading partners like Microsoft, organisations like REACH can strengthen their capacity to deliver high quality training that can help combat youth unemployment.” 

*REACH students participate in "Hour of Code" and ICT training in Hoi An, Hue and Danang.

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