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PS urges youths to go digital to boost employment opportunities

Youth optimistic of landing jobs after acquiring free  online training

Noven Owiti and James [email protected]

The youth have been urged to go for ICT and digital-related work as an alternative source of employment.
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere says digitalisation has created viable job opportunities that the youth should explore in order to earn a living.

Itemere said due to the uptake of technology, most organisations globally have shrunk the number of employees, leaving little space for human capital, hence the challenge of job shortage.

He gave an example of online work which has provided a range of jobs that the youths can now access, adding that about 100, 000 Africans —among them nearly 40, 000 Kenyans — are earning decent living from online work. “As a government, we have a responsibility of telling the citizens especially the youth to switch their focus and seek for jobs in the digital platform which is becoming a credible source of employment,” said the PS.

The PS made the remarks when he officially opened a five-day digital training worshop for youth on online work under the Ajira Digital Programme at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu last week. About 170 youths drawn from 24 counties attended the weeklong training programme in Kisumu. They were trained on web search, digital marketing, basic financial management skills and bidding process.

The Ajira Digital Programme is being implemented courtesy of the ICT Ministry in collaboration with the ministries of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Education and Foreign Affairs. Partners from the civil society and private sector assist the project, which aims at bridging the skills gap.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, in a speech read on his behalf by Itemere, said the first phase of the programme targets 10, 000 young people in six centres in Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Meru and Nakuru counties. He added, “The programme seeks to offer practical solutions to the unemployment challenge that our country faces”.

The training aims at introducing the youth to online work and to provide them with the tools, training and mentorship. “Through this programme, we will enable over a million youth to earn a decent wage from online employment,” said Mucheru.

The State also intends to introduce a Constituency Innovation Hubs (CIH) Project designed to complement the realisation and uptake of the online work. “The target is to provide four hubs in each of the 290 constituencies that will act as a national support network to enable the trainees’ access training, digital devices, mentorship and job opportunities through the Ajira Digital portal—www.ajiradigital.go.ke.

Meanwhile, youths being trained under the Ajira initiative at Kenyata University have expressed hope of crossing the unemployment bridge, as they will be able to work online.

Speaking during the launch of the online jobs training at the Kenyatta University (KU), Amos Mwaura, a graphics designer, said it is important for the youth to be equipped with online skills because most things are being done online globally. “I would like to thank the government for funding this initiative since many youths cannot afford to pay for such trainings,” said Mwaura.

Durett Hadima, a Third Year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) studing for a Bachelors in Business and Information Technology degree said it’s an opportunity for those undertaking IT- related courses and professions as it will advance their skills.  “We can use our free time to earn a few coins which will help reduce the burden on our parents,” she said.

According to Boniface Odhiambo, a trainer at the Ajira initiative, they will train 4,000 youths at KU while 10,000 are being trained across the country. “We have five training centres — Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Mombasa and Meru which have enrolled youths aged between 18 to 30 years and are being trained on online jobs,” he said.

The youth undergo a one-week training after which are enrolled on a one-month mentorship programme.

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