European Skills for Employability Award 2010

For the program “Design and configuration of Cisco networks + Microsoft”, a highly specialized computer program aimed at young people without higher education.

In the first edition of the European “Skills for Employability” awards, Tomillo Foundation has won the highest award in the category “Youth and Employability”. This prize was delivered in Brussels on 25 November and recognizes the extraordinary results achieved by its occupational training program on new technologies for unemployed people without higher studies. Tomillo Foundation has been developing this program for a decade, offering people, with limited possibilities of insertion in the labor market, excellent opportunities to find a qualified job, to recover their economic autonomy and therefore favoring their social integration. The program has been developing since the year 2000 thanks to the collaboration of Alfonso Martín Escudero Foundation.

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In the photo: Thomas Bergenroth, Global Relationship Manager, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of State Street, Pedro Lantero, Vicepresident of Tomillo Foundation and Jess McNicholas, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship de Microsoft.
These awards have been created by the “European Alliance on Skills for Employability”, an organization created in 2006 to help disadvantaged social groups to gain technical skills and other education required to increase their employability. The “Skills for Employability” Awards, which were launched this year, are intended to illustrate how the collaboration between companies and non-profit organizations can play a key role in achieving the goals set out in the European Digital Agenda.

The award was made by a panel of experts from CSR Europe, the European e-Skills Association, the European Foundation Center, Microsoft, the Motorola Foundation and State Street. Fundación Tomillo has received a cash prize of 5,000 euros courtesy of sponsors State Street, Motorola Foundation and Microsoft.

“We are very grateful for this award. As you know, Spain has an unemployment rate of 40% among young people under the age of 25 and this recognition supposes a support for our initiatives and encourages us to continue improving our IT specialized programs as a way for integration and improvement of people at risk of exclusion”, said Pedro Lantero Cervera, vice president of Tomillo Foundation, when he received the award, mentioning in his acceptance speech the interest of Bill Gates for this project. In one of his visits to Spain in 2004, the founder of Microsoft wanted to meet personally the students and teachers who participated in the courses of Tomillo Foundation.

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Project details

Tomillo’s initiative “Design, Configuration and Monitoring of Cisco Networks + Microsoft” is a free occupational training program, co-financed by the Alfonso Martín Escudero Foundation, which allows young people, with poor school training, to become technical professionals specialized in the most demanded technologies in the market.

This program of Tomillo Foundation is the result of a long and proven experience in education, quality training and development of social skills with young people at risk of social exclusion. This experience is evidenced by the trust that Microsoft placed in Tomillo Foundation, Microsoft has been collaborating in the project since 2000. Since then, 400 young people of between 18 and 35 years have become experts in products and technologies of Microsoft and Cisco. At the beginning of 2008, Tomillo Foundation celebrated, along with Microsoft and the Alfonso Martín Escudero Foundation, the 1,000 official certifications in Microsoft technologies obtained by the students participating in this initiative.

The program incorporates a great innovation and elements of success for the use of digital technology to service young people at risk of exclusion:

  • Being pioneers in education and employment of quality. High qualification and professional training with a high employability.
  • The use of a flexible and personalized methodology that allows young people with low qualifications but with a strong motivation, to obtain a complete training in digital technology.
  • Being a bridge program between the low qualification and lack of resources of young people and the development of specific skills of strong labor demand.
  • COMPREHENSIVE Support: Providing psycho-social support, language reinforcement and advice in the job search process. Since the final exam and most of the documentation is in English, Tomillo Foundation has developed a basic introductory course for the students to acquire the technical skills, written and spoken, necessary to ensure student success.

The results of this program are impressive: 97% of students who take the official Microsoft exam get approved; a percentage much higher than the one achieved by people prepared in other types of private academies, which does not reach 30%. One hundred percent of these students who obtain the qualification get a job within six months.