Microsoft today launched DigiYouthz, a new programme designed to help Irish students see the incredible opportunities available from a career in the technology industry. The programme aims to address outdated stereotypes and to open students’ minds to the wide array of exciting business and technology career opportunities in the IT industry. The event will provide them with hands-on to experience of the very latest technology from computer gaming to online services and movie production. They’ll have the opportunity to use these technologies and hear from people working in a wide variety of roles at Microsoft.

Xbox shot

The DigiYouthz programme brings secondary students to Microsoft for a full day of interactive fun and exposure to the latest technologies. Students, aged between 12 and 16, will learn new skills and gain a greater appreciation of the wide range of opportunities in the technology industry. The first event takes place on November 12th 2008 as part of Science Week Ireland.

“We’ve a saying that if only people knew what we know, they’d be incredibly excited by a career in technology,” said Maura Molloy, Director (Project Engineering) at Microsoft’s European Development Centre. “What other industry combines video and sound production, software development, gaming, the Internet, business operations, sales and marketing, linguistics, design and the potential to travel the world? A career in IT gives you the opportunity to work on products and services that millions of people use every day from their mobile phones to their laptops and their cars. It’s an incredibly exciting and diverse industry with something for everyone. DigiYouthz is an initiative to help students to see those amazing opportunities.”

“We are delighted that our students have the opportunity to be involved in Microsoft’s first DigiYouthz event,” said Grainne Clear, Mount Anville School. “There are certain common misconceptions about careers in technology, science and engineering. The reality is that it can be a very exciting career but very few young people get to experience that side. DigiYouthz will give students who are still making up their minds about the careers they want to pursue a real insight into what a career in IT would be like. Not only that, but Microsoft will share its expertise about how to go about planning a career in technology.”

Dr Kevin Marshall, Academic Programme Manager, Microsoft points out that DigiYouthz is part of an important initiative to address the perception and use of technology in Irish education. “DigiYouthz gives young people hands on experience with the latest technology and an insight into just how diverse and interesting careers in the technology industry are,” he said. “It is essential that we look to the future economy and the skills that will be required in the years to come to ensure Ireland’s competitiveness. If we hope to develop a true knowledge economy we need a pipeline of enthusiastic students qualified to work in the 21st Century workplace. We believe that programmes like DigiYouthz will reignite the enthusiasm and passion about the rewards that a career in technology can bring.”

The first DigiYouthz event will take place on November 12th 2008 in Dublin with further events planned around the country next year. During the event, students will interact with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology and to get an inside look at what it's like to work at Microsoft. The exciting programme also provides students with career planning assistance, information about technology and business roles, thought-provoking exercises, and interesting Microsoft product demonstrations.

The first DigiYouthz event will take place at the Microsoft Ireland campus in Sandyford on 12th November. It is part of the Science Week Ireland programme. Other events will take place around the country in 2009. Schools interested in getting involved in the programme can find more information on www.digiyouthz.com.