Prime Minister David Cameron today welcomed an initiative by computing giants Microsoft to help 300,000 jobless young people in the UK take steps towards work over the next three years.
Mr Cameron was meeting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at 10 Downing Street to discuss the company's Get On programme.
The initiative aims to offer some of Britain's 1 million unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds the skills and inspiration they need to get their first job through a combination of education, training, apprenticeships and work experience.
It will involve "work inspiration sessions" to help young people gain confidence; assistance with IT education in schools and colleges; new IT capacities at 30 youth clubs across the UK; pre-apprenticeship training; and apprenticeships in job-specific skills.
Graduates who are interviewed but not hired by Microsoft will be matched with jobs and internships elsewhere in the industry.
Mr Cameron said: "To succeed in the global race, and boost the UK economy, it is vital that we give young people every opportunity to work hard and get on in life.
"Microsoft's 'Get On' campaign is exactly the kind of support we need from business to inspire, provide skills, and create meaningful opportunities in the industries that will drive our economy forward in the future."
Mr Ballmer added: "In these difficult economic times, the best investment we can make is in our young people, to help them develop the skills and creativity they need to create our economic and social future.
"As part of our recently announced global company-wide commitment to youth - Microsoft YouthSpark - our 'Get On' programme in the UK will connect young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship so they can develop the confidence and skills required to compete in a global market and build a rewarding career."