Kenyan tech sector players launch digital talent program

Digital talent program to upskill 1,000 Kenyans within a year as it seeks to create a sustainable digital talent pipeline

Kenyan tech sector players launch digital talent program
Kenyan tech sector players

Over 30 technology sector players in Kenya  have launched a Digital Talent Program. The program aims to develop digital skills which fits the market by taking a sustainable approach to create a healthy digital talent pipeline.

In its first year, the program will target to upskill 1,000 participants based on the digital skills currently in high demand. So far, over 30 partners including 6 Universities, 14 Training Partners, 5 Tech-Hubs and community organisations, 7 Government agencies and 14 industry players including Big-Tech are part of the program.

“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 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.”

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; 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 enable the program through 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 employment opportunities.

The industry digital talent program is an initiative that seeks to transform Kenya through digital skills and innovation at scale, with a target to develop 1,000 digital ready youth by March 2023.

This will help to address digital talent supply shortage and mismatch, economic potential for scaled digital transformation, and transform the society by providing youth with skills and a source of income.

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

See 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. UK Government
  12. Qualcomm
  13. NCBA
  14. Huawei
  15. Nation Media Group
  16. Dell
  17. Belgium 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 Bottom Billions
  25. Kenyatta University
  26. University of Nairobi
  27. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology
  28. Technical University of Mombasa
  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 8th 2022, Kenya’s 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 alignment with the recently released Kenya National Digital Master Plan 2022-2032, which is a strategy for leveraging and extending the ICT sector’s contribution to socioeconomic growth.

Given the recent influx of several big tech companies into Kenya, there’s a need to build a robust tech talent pool. Tech talent training needs to keep pace with fast-developing digital technologies, which means it's necessary to constantly update teaching materials, courses, and experimental conditions.

Traditional college education has overtime proven insufficient to fill the talent gap in industry verticals that are going through accelerating digital transformation.