Corporates in deal to turn Kenya into Africa’s leading digital talent centre
Kenya’s technology sector players have developed a Digital Talent Programme that targets to upskill at least 1,000 individuals as it seeks to create a sustainable digital talent pipeline.
In its first year, the program, which is a partnership between organisations drawn from the academia, training partners, tech-hubs, the government as well as industry players, aims to equip the participants based on the digital skills currently in high demand.
Led by Safaricom PLC, the Digital Talent Programme has so far brought together over 30 partners including; six universities, 14 training partners, five tech-hubs and community organizations, seven government agencies, and 14 industry players including global big-tech.
Labor Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said that the ministry will push for digital penetration and support all who are willing to receive training, as well as ensuring the programme takes a suitable approach to creating a competitive digital pool.
“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 Mr Chelugui.
Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom 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.”
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The programme will be delivered through a hybrid approach including classroom learning, mentorship, and internships for the experiential part of the learning.
It will also involve hackathons, fireside chats, guest lecture sessions, incubation, career fairs, annual awards, curriculum reviews, placements, and certifications, among others.
Similarly, the trainees will be equipped with highly marketable skills including User Interface and User Experience, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Analytics, Cyber Security; Cloud Computing, Fintech, Robotics Process Automation, and Software Engineering.
Microsoft African Development Centre Managing Director Catherine Muraga expressed confidence in the capability and competence of Kenya in the digital world noting that there is plenty of talent.
“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,” Ms Muraga said.
Partners from academia will provide a pipeline for digital talent as well as the institutional strength and mandate to facilitate and implement classroom learning.
Tech Hubs will also provide a talent pipeline and play a critical role in driving innovation, while training partners will curate digital learning paths that are relevant to industry expectations.
Further, government agencies will enable the program by implementing relevant policies.
Industry partners, including big-tech companies, will be the key beneficiaries of the talent pipeline that the program seeks to create, and will also provide coaching and mentorship as well as internship and jobs.
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.”
You can learn more about the initiative and how to join as a partner via Digitaltalent@Safaricom.co.ke