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Microsoft Partners with Silatech to Launch MasrWorks Employability Portal in Egypt

Microsoft launches national website supports workforce development for Egyptian youth.
Microsoft Egypt | 09.04.2012

Microsoft and Silatech announced today that they have launched MasrWorks.com, an online employability portal for Egypt. Microsoft partnered with Silatech, a social enterprise organization, to develop the national website, helping Egyptian youth and jobs seekers to make a successful transition into the world of work. MasrWorks is available in both Arabic and English, and provides resources ranging from online career guidance, employability and entrepreneurship training, to specific work experience and job opportunities.

MasrWorks represents the first stage of a collaboration between Microsoft and Silatech, and is the pilot for the upcoming launch of an online regional employability portal. The expansion of the portal into other countries is part of a greater Arab youth employability initiative for the region. Microsoft and Silatech have also joined forces to collaborate on other programs, supporting the mutual objectives of both organizations to harness technology in support of regional workforce development and youth employability.

Jo Aggarwal, Director of Counseling and Placement Services from Silatech, is delighted with the partnership and says, "We need to give the youth of tomorrow the best opportunities, as they are the ones who will help shape the transformation of Egypt and the Arab World. We also see MasrWorks as a means to encourage job creation in a number of ways, such as empowering entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses to reach new markets and employ new talent."

"Recent events have encouraged young people across the Arab World to demand change and a future filled with more jobs, opportunities and hope. MasrWorks was developed to respond to this call, in collaboration with partners and social enterprise organizations which have a long-standing dedication towards supporting youth employability," says Ayman Abdellatif, General Manager, Microsoft Egypt.

The unemployment rate in Egypt has risen to 12.4% in January 2012, up from 8.9% a year earlier[1], and 90% of the country's unemployed are under the age of thirty[2]. MasrWorks helps support the youth who were the driving force behind the revolution, and supports workforce development. The website provides career planning resources that can help visitors identify what kind of career path they want to follow, and offers extensive training options for different skills, customized to specific target groups and jobs. Visitors can also identify the jobs available; and the website helps them prepare their applications.

Key website features:
? Career guidance tools: These assessments will support youth in their self-awareness to identify the skills they need to develop to be successful in their careers, and will help link them to the appropriate career advisors, training and opportunities.

? Arabic content: The portal will serve as a hub, bringing together Arabic content under one umbrella, while drawing attention to the many organizations in Egypt serving youth and providing workforce development training.

? Job matching: Job, internship, and volunteer postings easily automated online, with job preparation resources on CV and cover letter writing, interviews, and workers' rights and responsibilities.

? Extensive training options: For different skills, customized to specific target groups and jobs, and in categories such as IT skills, soft skills, entrepreneurial skills, and language skills.

? Mentoring and volunteering matching: Leveraging various alumni networks and international donor support.

? Social media integration: Capturing real-time feedback of young leaders and job seekers, as well as employers, which can identify training gaps compared to requirements.

Since beginning operations in late 2009, through its programs and partnerships Silatech has created approximately 25,000 jobs for young people throughout the Arab world.

In Qatar, Silatech has partnered with Qatar Development Bank to establish the Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development. Located in Building 30 of the Katara Cultural Village, the Bedaya Center provides young people in Qatar with career guidance counseling, mentoring programs, and a variety of workshops focusing on entrepreneurship- and employment-related skills development.