Microsoft and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) launch YUVA Junction Helpline

Ahmedabad, 12th August 2014: Microsoft India and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) today announced the launch of the YUVA Junction Helpline in Ahmedabad to offer career guidance to the youth. The Helpline is aimed at empowering the youth, especially from rural areas, with a wealth of information on education and employment-related opportunities. It is free to call, providing information in both Hindi and Gujarati, and can be reached by dialing 75678 75679 from any landline and mobile phone.

The Helpline will provide information on courses that can be undertaken after Class 10, and is aimed at providing a much-needed platform to guide youth towards their chosen career path, as well as information on job prospects in a growing economy. The current curriculum of many schools, colleges and training institutes in the country does not meet this immediate need. Therefore, the Government, in partnership with the private sector, must enable the large workforce in the country – expected to be nearly 700 million people by 2020 – with market-relevant training and skills.

Apoorva Oza, CEO, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), said, “In India and Gujarat, youth grow up in a world with a multiplicity of choices and a high cost of education. Rural youth, many of whom are the first generation to look at employment or further studies beyond traditional agriculture, do not have any input on their options from their families. They therefore need guidance and counselling to make the right choices which will determine their future, and fortunately, with all of them having mobile phones, calling for help is easy. This helpline will certainly assist them as they chart their future.”

Echoing these thoughts,Manju Dhasmana, Community Affairs Manager, Microsoft India, said, “A large segment of India’s working-age population is unable to take advantage of the opportunities available to them owing to a growing skills gap. In this scenario, technology has emerged as a game-changer by enhancing the reach and affordability of knowledge and guidance that was earlier the privilege of a limited and predominantly urban segment of the youth. In Gujarat, we have been supporting the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme since 2007 through our YouthSpark Project Jyoti programme. With initiatives such as the YUVA Junction Helpline, we are committed to ensuring that India’s youth have access to the skills needed to enhance their employability.”

The YUVA Junction Helpline can be easily accessed to address education and employment-related queries, by dialing the toll-free number. Upon dialing the helpline number, the caller will receive an automatic call-back to the number they have called from, following which the bilingual IVRS will guide the youth to a number of choices to narrow down their area of interest. Information on gender, educational qualifications, age and areas of interest will be used to further refine appropriate options. A special YUVA Counsellor will then study the information collected and provide detailed guidance and counselling to guide the information seeker.

About Microsoft India
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 6,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development and customer services and support, across nine Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft is committed to touching and transforming lives and businesses in India through technology.

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