The Malta Independent 29 February 2020, Saturday

80 MCAST students hosted at Microsoft’s 3rd edition of YouthSpark Live

Thursday, 10 December 2015, 10:21 Last update: about 5 years ago

Microsoft Malta hosted 80 students from MCAST at its Microsoft Innovation Centre for the third edition of YouthSpark Live hosted in partnership with Aiesec.

This year's edition focused on the theme Computer Science, Using Technology and Creating with Technology and included very important workshops on entrepreneurship and employment which as in previous editions of YouthSpark, were the core topics.

"The event featured a full day of workshops about creative thinking, the importance of IT to increase employability, available careers in the IT sector and the opportunities available for all young entrepreneurs," explained Angela Micallef, Citizenship manager for Microsoft Malta.

The event was opened by Microsoft Malta's new Country manager, Panayiotis Ioannou in the presence of Evarist Barolo, Minister for Education and Employment.

In his welcome address, Mr Ioannou noted how this event is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between Microsoft and Aiesec.

"We are working with Aiesec on a number of areas such as youth employment, further education and entrepreneurship, youth empowerment programmes, social inclusion and employability youth programmes for other organisations, public entities and student associations. We are also proud to be acting as trusted advisors in youth-related matters. This agreement empowers us to promote ICT for youth development and education with the aim of supporting the development of improved student learning through the various YouthSpark and Aiesec programmes available to Malta's young generation."

"Our work further supports the Government of Malta's objective of reducing the digital and opportunity divide as well as to help lower the number of young people not in employment and furthering education institutions," added Mr Ioannou.

"Today, youths know that if they need help, there are companies and organisations like Microsoft and Aiesec who have the will and the resources to help them achieve their dreams and aspirations. They just have to nurture the will and take the initiative. The rest will follow!" concluded Mr Ioannou.

Addressing the students, Minister Bartolo noted how society is changing and that we need to be constantly ready to embrace what society requires from us.

"Current events throughout the world are bringing big social changes and this is bound to affect our way of living too. Events like this, organised by Microsoft and Aiesec, help us discover who we are and what our role in society can be," said the Minister.

"A good decision taken by the previous administration was to put education and employment together under the responsibility of one ministry - a decision which government is building upon. We believe in the importance that students should experience the real world outside their everyday formal education environment. There is a digital skills gap which we have to address. However, besides IT skills, employers also seek students with good business sense. Events like this also help students nurture values such as integrity and honesty and this not only makes us better employees but better citizens for a better society," added Minister Bartolo.

The event also featured a panel discussion with the participation of Martin Bonnici from Shadeena, David Scicluna from Aiesec, Gege Gatt from ICON and Kenneth Zerafa from ICTSA as well as a talk on how to bridge the employment gap delivered by Charlene Debattista, Recruitment specialist at Konnekt.

Gabriella Sutton, External Relations manager at Aiesec added: "Hosting yet another YouthSpark event with Microsoft is an honour for Aiesec and we are proud that more students have participated in this year's event - 80 compared to last year's 60 students - proof that these events are becoming very sought after by students. We believe that development of leadership is crucial for youth empowerment and development, and as Aiesec we deliver this through our exchange programmes with their unique value. Events such as YouthSpark show how Aiesec and Microsoft share the same vision ‒ to empower Malta's youth."

Topics treated during this one-day workshop included How technology is used in various professions, How to create an action plan for your career, How to manage technology and How to create with technology. 
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