Youth in the country have been pressed to tap into the government’s employment portal for job opportunities.
ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the ministry will continue engaging educational institutions and local companies to help bridge the gap between skills demand and lack of jobs through the government’s Ajira Digital platform.
This will result in at least one million Kenyan youths earning a decent wage from digital and digitally-enabled jobs annually.
Saying the Ajira Digital Programme will harness the increasingly connected ecosystem, Mr Mucheru revealed that so far, of 67 per cent of Ajira digital trainees who have started bidding on online work platforms, 49 percent have won bids and have started make money.
The CS, who spoke at an event to promote the local Kenyan film, Uradi at his TelPosta offices at the end of the week, pointed out that the programme currently works closely with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) and technology training institute eMobilis through support from the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works initiative, to assist youth who enrol in it to get jobs.
He lauded the increase in the number of other private sector players providing job linkages such as iBuild, Lynk.co.ke, Brighter Monday, Ajiry, KaziRemote, TrueLink, and Onesha, among others, through which youths can benefit.
“The coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted a situation that was already grim. Approximately one million graduates enter the job market every year, yet the economy does not create enough jobs to accommodate them,” Mr Mucheru said.
A million jobs, he affirmed, have been lost since the first case [of the novel coronavirus] was announced in Kenya in March and that 80 per cent of unemployed Kenyans are aged below 35 years.
Mr Mucheru held that the surging unemployment numbers informed the launch of the Ajira Digital Programme in 2016.
Amid this, he said, Kepsa has been helping with creation of work from both the private and public sectors, promoting digital and digitally-enabled jobs through nurturing digital work platforms, supporting outsourcing of work, and linking youth to digital jobs.
eMobilis, on the other hand, manages the human resource that the programme requires to run its’ centres and offer training countrywide.
As a result, another 100 youths have been hired to run the Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres and 50 trainers brought in to support the programme’s implementation activities.
There are currently 300 Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres accessible by all citizens at no cost where the youths can access the Internet, computers, training and mentorship.
The CS indicated that the ministry is also planning to reopen Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres that had been closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 disease.
He added that under the programme, companies such as Cisco Networking Academy, IBM D-NA, HP-Life, Huawei and Coursera are offering self-learning to the youths.
“The Ajira portal — www.ajiradigital.go.ke — has amassed a wealth of educational content that all can take advantage of, to upskill and re-skill themselves,” he revealed.
“When we started, our classes often filled within an hour of being presented in our portal. Our database also grew by 800 per cent. We have grown steadily over the past three years and in total, the programme has trained and run physical awareness sessions to more than 50,000 youths countrywide.”
“With at least 51 trainers, who are proficient in a variety of online work skills ranging from transcription, content writing, data entry, digital marketing, creative and graphic design, virtual assistants, data science and programming, youths cannot afford to not take this opportunity,” Mr Ken Mwenda, the managing director of eMobilis said.