Providing career development opportunities for students and jobseekers in the Netherlands
In the past year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people who receive unemployment benefits has increased in and around the municipality of Hoorn in the West Friesland region of the Netherlands. Many of the region’s workforce have moved to or are commuting to Amsterdam. The municipality and Microsoft would like to equip more people from the region for employment in local tech and datacenter roles.
Microsoft’s investment is twofold. First, a training program focused on skilling 12 local unemployed people started in March 2021. Second, the Datacenter Academy will focus on educating local students and encouraging them to stay and work in the region, with an internship at the local Microsoft datacenter beginning in May 2021.
Upskilling local jobseekers in the West Friesland region
In a new partnership, the municipality of Hoorn, Microsoft, and ITPH Academy, working with Horizon College, have created a 16-week program for the retraining of people currently out of work. Through local governmental unemployment agencies, a diverse pool of candidates was identified to enter the three-phase learning program. In the first phase, the focus is on fundamental knowledge and obtaining industry-standard certifications (such as CompTIA A+ and Microsoft Azure Fundamentals). In the second phase, participants apply their knowledge to a personalized project, concluding with a presentation to potential employers. In the final phase, students get support in finding a job in a datacenter or elsewhere in the IT sector.
Throughout the phases, topics like teambuilding, leadership, communication, and networking are incorporated to strengthen participants’ soft skills. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be prepared for a career in the information technology sector and will be connected with a coach to guide them through the labor market. Local officials are looking forward to retaining employees in the area. “At this time in particular, I am pleased that we can offer residents of our municipality additional training opportunities. Everyone deserves a chance to develop or retrain. I hope this will encourage others to look ahead,” says Hoorn Alderman Kholoud Al Mobayed.
Providing hands-on education through the Datacenter Academy
Microsoft is also partnering with Horizon College to expand the Microsoft Datacenter Academy program. Through in classroom learning, online coursework, and hands-on practice in the datacenter lab, students engage in a range of learning experiences at the college to develop their skills. In the datacenter lab, students have access to servers, storage devices, and networking equipment.
As part of the program, students can attain valuable certifications and participate in work-based learning at the local datacenter (or with other local employers), opening the opportunity for future employment. Equipping these students to succeed in high-paying, high-tech jobs encourages them to stay in the region to begin their careers.
Building a pipeline of eligible local workers
Through these programs, the local datacenters are ensured a supply of qualified workers. These workers are encouraged to stay in the region due to the available career paths, and the area is less susceptible to residents leaving for larger cities. “Residents must be able to live and work in this region. This is in line with the ambition to be an attractive region,” said Al Mobayed. This mutually beneficial approach will ensure West Friesland and its residents continue to flourish.
“At this time in particular, I am pleased that we can offer residents of our municipality additional training opportunities. Everyone deserves a chance to develop or retrain. I hope this will encourage others to look ahead.”―Kholoud Al Mobayed, Hoorn Alderman