There are tens of programs that have been developed to train Kenyans in digital skills. Some of them are backed by the government (Ajira, Whitebox, and others by ICT Authority). Others are run by private companies and international tech corporations.
A program of a similar kind has also been launched, it appears to source support from reputable companies around, including Safaricom and Microsoft.
Dubbed the Digital Talent Program, the latest development seeks to impart digital skills to participants, while taking a ‘sustainable approach to creating a healthy digital talent pipeline.’
During its first year, the program will train more than 1000 participants on digital skills that are currently in high demand. The program will receive support from academia, training partners, tech hubs, Government, and industry players.
At the moment, the number of partners that have been onboarded into the program include:
- 6 universities
- 14 training partners
- 5 tech hubs
- 7 government agencies
- Other community organizations
The program will primarily focus on the following key areas:
- UI/UX design
- Machine learning
- Big Data and Analytics
- Cloud computing
- Robotics process automation
- Software engineering
Training will take a hybrid approach, where learning will entail classwork, mentorship, and internships. It will also cover hackathons, fireside chars, guest lecture sessions, incubation, career fairs, annual awards, placement, and certifications, to mention a few.
Classroom learning will be provided by members of academia.
Technology hubs will offer a talent pipeline to accelerate innovation.
Training partners will curate digital learning paths that are relevant to industry expectations.
Government agencies, on their part, will enable the program through the implementation of relevant policies.
Industry partners, including tech giants, will benefit from the talent pool produced by the program. They will also coach and mentor participants while linking them up to work opportunities.
So far, it has been established that Safaricom, Microsoft, and KCA University will be part of the program.
Global tech companies have been tapping the benefits of Kenya’s upper hand, especially in the digital space. Google and Microsoft, not to mention Visa, have since set up their innovation centres in Nairobi.
Telcos such as Safaricom have also expressed interest in these digital skills. The carrier plans to develop up to 80 percent of its technology in-house.
The government, on its side, has already developed a Digital Masterplan for the next decade. The mission of the Master Plan is to enhance the collaboration of the public and private sectors to form the development network of information systems and infrastructure. It has already been set into motion following tomorrow’s fair (July 29th) that will see the opening of the first software factory in Bomet County.
“It has been observed that there is a number of youth with ICT-related certificates who do not possess the skills and competencies required by the employer. Therefore, it is important for us as an industry and sector to push for digital penetration and come up with training and upskilling institutes to support those who are willing to be trained,” said Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary – Ministry of Labour.
Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom PLC CEO said: “The digital talent program is in line with our purpose of transforming lives and vision to become a purpose-led technology company. Our ultimate objective is to position Kenya as the leading hub for tech talent in Africa.”
Catherine Muraga, MD ADC, Microsoft said: “We believe that Africa should not only be a consumer of technology, but also a hub for local talent. We can make a contribution to shaping and innovating the world. Kenya has a huge talent pool of competent and capable developers. That is why Microsoft and other tech companies are setting up their Africa operations here.”
Dr. Joshua Gisemba, KCA University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs said: “As universities, we need to rethink the curriculum and the methodologies that come along with that. Even as we put down the structures and have the curriculum reviewed, we also need to adequately prepare the instructors and providers to be able to adjust to the teaching methodology according to the needs of the society.”