Applications for Emerging Markets Skills Initiative is now open
The African Center for Women Information and Communication Technology (ACWICT) in partnership with Microsoft and the Ministry of Industry Trade and Enterprise Development (MOITED) are pleased to announce the Kenya Emerging Markets Skills Initiative. This YEP seeks to accelerate skilling to ensure an inclusive economic recovery post COVID-19 and beyond. The Kenya Emerging Markets Initiative looks to empower our youth by addressing the challenges faced when trying to transition to the Digital ecosystem.
One of the leading challenges to youth unemployment in Kenya is the glaring mismatch between the skills young people possess and the demand in the labor market. This results in frustration from the youth and employers who cannot meet their labor demand. Quality demand-driven technical and digital skills development, coupled with soft skills both in and out of school, are the most important tools in equipping youth with skills they need to improve their employment outcomes. The initiative will respond to the skills gaps in technical, life, entrepreneurship, and work readiness skills by developing a holistic curriculum informed by the labor market. Once the youth are trained, they will be matched to available opportunities for internships and apprenticeships and connected to jobs. Finally, the project will endeavor to introduce youth to opportunities in the digital ecosystem including non-traditional jobs such as online work, freelancing, and developing business solutions
Another key challenge contributing to youth unemployment is that most young people go through education and training without really knowing what the future holds for them in terms of available job opportunities in their field. With the digital economy more recent, the lack of clarity regarding the type of digital skills needed and the available digital job opportunities is more pronounced. The project will work with the Ministry of labor and social protection to develop a framework for Career guidance counseling and mentorship and build capacity for training providers to use it when enrolling youth for training and before joining the workplace. The African Center for Women and ICT has an existing mentorship platform linking youth in training with those working in the digital economy which will be revamped with input from stakeholders. There is strong evidence of the power of mentorship in the successful completion and transition of youth especially young women in the digital space. Lack of labor information services will be addressed by building partnerships with Job matching and placing platforms for visibility of jobs posted as well as requirements. The program will create awareness to the youth during training regarding these platforms and train them on their use and access.
The growing digital skills development in Kenya needs more coordination and alignment. This is to ensure the government has the ability and capability to continuously provide youth with digital skills and employment services. The Kenya Skilling and Employment Initiative will create a central steering committee under the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development (MITED) to coordinate training, delivery, monitoring, and evaluation of youth digital training programs. In addition, in partnership with the Ministry of labor and social protection, we will develop a framework for training to-work transition that is adopted for use. To ensure training to work transition is achieved, we will build the capacity of existing Industry liaison officers working in the ministry 35 Centers with tools for employer engagement, internships, and industrial attachments as well as job placement and post-training tracer studies. A majority of youth in Kenya are inclined to be entrepreneurs and to propagate the use of digital skills for enterprise development, the incubation hubs under the ministry will be ideal for their tech startups' incubation and expansion. The Kenya Emerging Markets Initiative program looks to achieve its goal of capacity building 50,000 youth between the ages of 18-34 years old with market-relevant digital skills around the fields of IT Infrastructure, Computer Science, Data Science and Analytics, Internet of Things, Cyber Security, and Cloud Computing