The number of youth in Bomet County that have benefited from the Ajira empowerment programme, an initiative of the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs (MOICT) has tremendously increased from a mere 12 trainees when the programme was initiated in the County in August 2020.
Speaking to KNA in Sotik Ajira Hub, Sotik Centre Manager Mr. Nelson Mutai said that since its inception in August 2020, the centre has managed to train over 2000 youths from around the country and county.
“Coming up with this centre was a brilliant idea from ICTA in partnership with other stakeholders like the Community Fund Development fund (CDF). Through the conjunction of these two entities, we have been able to trainee over 2000 trainees in this facility,” noted Mutai.
“During the onset of our training, most youths didn’t have exposure to information and technology ideas and it was hard for us to convince learners to adopt the apprenticeship, but now, where things stand at a different angle, the number of trainees is increasing every day,” added Mutai.
Learners are trained with a blended model of coaching where they either do it physically in training halls or virtually online.
According to Mutai, learners are imparted with online job acquisition skills from different categories which include transcription, virtual assistant writing and translation, data entry and digital literacy.
Monica Bii, a beneficiary of the programme informed KNA that the programme has enabled her to earn a living from online jobs after tarmacking for many years looking for formal jobs.
“I joined this Ajira programme 2 years ago. I was among the first beneficiaries, I have gained IT related skills which I am using now to make a living out of it,” stated Ms. Bii.
The Sotik Ajira centre also absorbed Bii as one of its assistant trainers where she is now training many other new trainees who are eager to venture into the ICT field online jobs.
Felix Kiprotich, another beneficiary of the programme said his life has completely changed after enrolling last year, and he has been bidding transcription gigs that pay better according to him.
He also pointed out that other jobs categories like virtual assistants which are self-employed, one specializes in offering administrative services to clients from a remote location, usually a home office, and one could offer her or his services to over one client at a go.
“Skills that we have gained from this programme can enable one to juggle in between more than one online job at the same time which is a good, relatively nice idea of earning more of income,” explained Kiprotich.
The Ajira Project and its centres aim at bridging the gap between skills demand and lack of jobs and further seeks to gather lessons learnt to inform the project scale-up.
The project seeks to position Kenya as a choice of labour destination for multinational companies as well as encourage local companies and the public sector to create digital work.
Most of the jobs done by beneficiaries of this programme are from international clients, a multinational conglomerate that pays at an average cost of three dollars per hour for virtual assistant tasks.
However, Mutai noted that most young educated people preferred white-collar jobs over self-reliance earning skills that are tax-free.
He intends to mobilize youths from Bomet County to make use of government resources at the doorstep like this one to better their lives.
By Lamech Arisa