Multi-national software corporation SAP has today partnered ICT Authority of Kenya in its second year of high-end ICT training, an 8-week program that aims at certifying 100 students per year.
The program dubbed SAP Skills for Africa targets recent graduates interested in finance and business development. The initiative is in accordance with the ICT Master Plan 2014-17 which recommends developing and sustaining talent as well as nurturing an ICT ready workforce that meets the needs of the industry.
During the 2014 program flag-off in attendance was Fred Matiang’I who commended the achievements of the capacity building initiative and called on more companies to design similar projects. The two parties signed a 3-year partnership agreement that will collaborate on innovation and incubation programs; general ICT awareness and literacy; skills development and internship programs; best practice sharing on process improvement and joint research initiatives.
The successful candidates will go through a fully sponsored training program, certification and internship placements. The scholarships are targeting candidates that graduated between December 2011 and December 2014. The internships will run in the first quarter of 2015.
In 2013, SAP graduated 56 successful students most of who have been matched up with jobs. The scholarship program is looking to launch in other African regions to prepare fresh graduates for the workforce in the ICT sector.
ICT market Skills in Kenya
For a long time, Information Communication Technology (ICT) training was for the “untouchables” in Kenya. This was a training that most of the students at least did not have to deal with at University or college levels. Today, this has taken a turn. The technology skills are now a requirement in any institution or organization offering job opportunities. With the current activation of a bright technology future and service automation in the country, the requirement will soon be a need for anyone looking to be employed or even establish a business.
The government has therefore rolled out various institutions to meet the need of equipping individuals with technology skills across the country. One to four year training sessions are the most common in the public education facilities today. They have however been called out for not offering best training in the various duration.
From the corporate sector, students do not meet the needs of the industry which is quite a disappointment. Thousands of graduates churned into the market face a challenge in getting jobs as they do not match the skill set that employers are looking for.
The Private sector has hence taken initiative to ensure a fully skilled environment by establishing technology labs and institutions, free training programmes and sponsorship open to the public. This is better termed corporate patriotism than responsibility. In the recent past, series of technology facilities by the private sector have been rolled out to upgrade graduates skills to meet the industry’s expectations.
Telecommunications companies, technology manufacturers, financial institutions are among the few private sectors offering incredible training opportunities and facilities. The move is key ingredient to Kenya success to becoming a hub in ICT excellence.
The gesture by the private sectors is commendable in the sense that the sector not only looks at the people as business opportunities but also as vessels of development that require capacity building in their various skills acquisition.
I certainly feel as if the government is however failing on this one. In line with vision 2030 is the digitization of services and systems in the country. The government should therefore plant and nurture the skills from a tender level to ensure mature personnel rolled out to the industry, considering the institutions where the private sector is fetching graduates are governmental.
Education syllabus should be made worth the training period not to close out persons who don’t have opportunities to build on capacity acquired from the varsities. The gap that remains un-closed between the corporate world and the education institutions will forever be a hindrance to the state’s development.