Tech partners launch digital talent program

Over 30 tech players in Kenya have launched a Digital Talent Program. The program aims to develop market-ready digital skills by taking a sustainable approach to building a healthy digital talent pool.

In its first year, the program will aim to develop 1,000 participants in digital skills that are currently in high demand. To date, more than 30 partners, including 6 universities, 14 training partners, 5 Tech-Hubs and community organizations, 7 government agencies and 14 industry players, including Big-Tech, are part of the program.

“It has been observed that there are a number of young people 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 to create training and development institutes to support those who wish to be trained,” said Simon Chelugui, Secretary of Office of the Ministry of Labour.

Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom PLC, said: “The Digital Talent Program is in line with our aim to transform lives and our vision to become a purpose-driven technology company. Our ultimate goal 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 help shape and innovate the world. Kenya has a huge talent pool of skilled and capable developers. This is why Microsoft and other tech companies are locating their operations here in Africa.

Dr Joshua Gisemba, KCA University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs, said: “As universities, we need to rethink the curriculum and the methodologies that go with it. Even though we put the structures in place and revise the curriculum, we must also adequately prepare the instructors and providers to be able to adapt the teaching methodology according to the needs of society.

The program will focus on 9 priority skill areas including: UI/UX design; artificial intelligence and machine learning; IoT; Big Data and Analytics; cyber security; Cloud computing; fintech; Automation of robotic processes; and software engineering.

It will be delivered using a hybrid approach including classroom learning, mentoring and internships for the experiential part of the learning. It will also involve hackathons, fireside chats, guest lectures, incubation, career fairs, annual awards, program reviews, internships, and certifications, among others.

University partners will provide a digital talent pool and the institutional strength and mandate to facilitate and implement classroom learning. Technology hubs will also provide a pool of talent and play a vital role in driving innovation, while training partners will curate digital learning journeys tailored to industry expectations.

Government agencies will activate the program by implementing relevant policies. Industry partners, including large tech companies, will be primary beneficiaries of the talent pool the program seeks to create, and will also provide coaching and mentoring as well as internship and employment opportunities.

The Industry Digital Talent Program is an initiative that aims to transform Kenya through digital skills and innovation at scale, with the goal of developing 1,000 digital-ready young people by March 2023.

This will help address the shortage and mismatch of digital talent supply, the economic potential for large-scale digital transformation, and transform society by providing young people with skills and a source of income.

The program brings together like-minded stakeholders, each participating in various capacities, including providing mentorship, internships, scholarships, sponsorship, innovation and platforms.

See the full list of partners below:

  1. AWS
  2. IBM
  3. GULF BANK
  4. Microsoft
  5. Google
  6. UN
  7. Sevenstone Ltd
  8. eMobilis
  9. GIZ Kenya
  10. Oracle
  11. British government
  12. Qualcomm
  13. NCBA
  14. Huawei
  15. National Media Group
  16. Dell
  17. Belgian Embassy
  18. Ministry of ICT
  19. Kenya Private Sector Alliance
  20. ICT Authority
  21. National Industrial Training Authority
  22. Kenya National Innovation Agency
  23. Eldo Hub
  24. The Forgotten Lower Billions
  25. Kenyatta University
  26. University of Nairobi
  27. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
  28. Mombasa Technical University
  29. KCA University
  30. Technical University of Kenya
  31. USIU
  32. Thunderbird School of Management
  33. Strathmore University
  34. Next Arabia
  35. Think Innovators Kenya
  36. Africa Leadership Initiative

Earlier on June 8, 2022, the Kenyan Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) and Innovation inaugurated a digital skills training program for 20 million Kenyans.

These programs are being launched in line with the recently released Kenya National Digital Master Plan 2022-2032, which is a strategy to leverage and expand the contribution of the ICT sector to socio-economic growth.

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