Investing in tech infrastructure, Microsoft Turkey focuses on youth employment

BARIŞ ŞIMŞEK
ISTANBUL
Published 01.07.2019 00:10

Microsoft Turkey has launched a comprehensive study to help grow the younger generations in the field of informatics. Microsoft Turkey, which has fortified technological infrastructure with a $170 million technology grant to more than 410 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), will now provide employment-oriented technology training to 5,000 young people.

In addition, 50,000 young people will learn coding as part of an important study to be carried out to close the employment gap in the field of informatics.

Erdem Erkul, Microsoft Turkey vice chairman in charge of public sector and investments, provided a group of journalists with information about the company's activities in Turkey. Erkul said that they have been operating in Turkey for 26 years and that they have provided jobs to 100,000 people through their business partner networks.

Emphasizing that they have brought the most innovative and reliable technologies to more than 1,000 corporate companies and to more than 700,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with their 12,000 business partners in 26 years, Erkul noted, "We have been supporting over 2,000 local initiatives. We have donated $170 million worth of technology to more than 410 NGOs. We have brought the infrastructure of nearly 250 nongovernmental organizations to cloud computing."

Erkul said that they will invest more than TL 1.5 million in four main areas until the end of 2019, adding that they aim to support the development of capacity in computer and information technology teachers as well as to provide coding training to high school students in a right and sustainable way.

Highlighting that computer and technology literacy in Turkey seems high compared to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Erkul continued, "Some 66 percent of employers in Turkey have difficulty filling vacant positions. Turkey has the largest talent deficit of qualified workers, engineers and technicians. In response to the closure of this gap, we will provide advanced programming and coding training to more than 1,000 teachers in high schools and vocational high schools for about a year. We aim for 50,000 students to take advantage of this training."

Pointing out that they have initiatives so that the next generations can reach a sufficient level in computer sciences and pursue a career in technology, Erkul said, "In the last three years, we have provided cloud computing and programming training to over 90,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 18 under the ‘Design Your Future' program, which we have been running in collaboration with the Habitat Association. Under the ‘Tiny Fingers Programming the Future' project, we introduced a total of 20,000 children in 30 provinces with coding. There is yet another success story on this issue. One of the fruits of the ‘Design Your Future' program is the ‘Mr. Holo' initiative, a virtual reality [VR] company founded by young people graduating from the program. The founders Mahmut Ok and Alper Özcan started using the coding and entrepreneurship skills, which they gained under the program, on Hololens which is a mixed reality device they met in 2016 thanks to the ‘Design Your Future' training. Soon after Hololens was introduced, they bought one of the 500 devices put up for sale in the U.S. While the world was just trying to get to know the device, thousands of young people had the opportunity to meet this technology thanks to the program."

According to Erkul, Microsoft Turkey has initiated a new employment-oriented program in cooperation with the Kodluyoruz (We are coding) Association this month. The project has started in June and will be completed in December 2020.

The program offers advanced coding and programming training to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are fresh graduates or are studying in computer and technology-oriented departments in order to increase their digital capacities and to find jobs in the information sector. The training program was determined according to the surveys conducted with approximately 230 companies in Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa and Şanlıurfa, which are the four pilot provinces where the training will be carried out.

"We anticipate that about 5,000 young people will join the program. At the end of the training, we aim to have 40 percent of the participants be employed within a year," Erkul concluded.

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