LIGHT AT THE TUNNEL’S END AS DIGITAL TALENT PROGRAMME IS LAUNCHED

From left, Principal Secretary Ministry of ICT Jerome Ochieng, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labour & Youth Affairs, Simon Chelugui and Safaricom PLC CEO Peter Ndegwa look on as Sylvia Wangari takes them through a digital concept.
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Technology sector players have launched a digital talent programme that is aimed at developing digital skills in the market by taking a sustainable approach to create a healthy digital talent pipeline. In its first year, the programme, which is a partnership between organisations drawn from academia, training partners, tech-hubs, government as well as industry players, targets to upskill 1,000 participants based on the digital skills currently in high demand.

So far, over thirty  partners including  six universities,  fourteen  training partners,  five  tech-hubs and community organizations,  seven  government agencies and  fourteen  industry players including Big-Tech are part of the programme.  “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, Chief Executive Officer,  Safaricom  said: “The digital talent programme  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.”

Local talent

Catherine Muraga, Managing Director,  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 in 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.”

Focus

The programme  will focus on nine  priority skill areas including: UI/UX design,  artificial intelligence and machine learning, internet of  things,  big data and analytics, cyber security, cloud computing, fintech, robotics process automation and software engineering.

It 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.

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.

Government agencies will facilitate the programme by implementing relevant policies. Industry partners, including big-tech companies, will be the key beneficiaries of the talent pipeline that the programme seeks to create and will also provide coaching and mentorship as well as internship and employment opportunities.

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