The Government of Laos has partnered with Microsoft to help train the country’s youth with tech and entrepreneurial skills.

The project, along with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will develop an online tool for training and employment.

The YouthWorks programme will offer 2,500 courses, including in ICT, entrepreneurship, vocational and soft skills. It will also offer career guidance, mentorship, and job placements. There will be courses outside of tech which would be helpful for entrepreneurs too, like engineering, accounting and English.

ADB will help develop locally relevant training material and employment services on the platform.

58% of the Laotian population is under 24 years of age, which makes youth employment and training a key focus for the government.

Soon after the agreement was signed US President Barack Obama visited Laos. Referring to this project, he said: “Young people in Laos shouldn’t have to move someplace else in order to prosper. You should be able to work and build a better life right here in Laos.”

The YouthWorks programmes is already operating in 18 other countries, each tailored to local requirements in partnership with governments, international organisations and non-profits.

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Image by llee_wu, CC BY-ND 2.0