Young people have been urged to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the National Online Employment Skills Development Programme, an initiative that bridges the gap between employment and education.
Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore said the program demonstrates the government’s commitment to empower the youth with skills aimed at enhancing their economic participation in the country’s economy.
She said there is need for the young people to join the programme as it will enable them to exploit information technology to pursue economic opportunities.
“I hope this programme will inspire many to join the online gig economy as gig workers or freelancers,” said Bore.
The CS said the programme which is an innovative initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, State Department for Labour and Skills Development, in collaboration with the Ajira Digital program driven by the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy is designed to bridge the gap between education and employment.
It is also aimed at equipping young people, especially person with disability with the requisite skills and competencies which is the backbone in today’s evolving job market.
The CS who was speaking virtually during the virtual launch of the National Online Employment Skills Development Programme at NSSF building said the government is providing individuals with tools, training, and opportunities they need to succeed.
She added that the programme is a significant milestone of the government’s effort to build a highly skilled and future-ready workforce.
“We are empowering them to shape their own futures and contribute meaningfully to the economic growth of our nation,” said Bore while affirming that the program has attracted over 2000 young people across the country.
She further added that the gig economy has grown, transforming the labour market towards more accessible, competitive, and consistent job opportunities over the last decade, which she noted has the potential to reduce the unemployment that has affected the youth.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2021, the unemployment rate is 6.6 percent indicating that age groups of 20–24 and 25–29 continued to record the highest proportion of unemployment, while in the long-term unemployment rate, which was 3.9 percent, youth aged 20–24 still have the highest rate of long-term unemployment at 13.5 percent.
The survey also lauds the Judiciary for offering opportunities to over 110,476 young people who have been linked to work in the private sector thereby addressing the challenges faced by both job seekers and employers thereby creating a win-win scenario that fosters sustainable growth and prosperity for all.
Ajira programme also focuses on empowering the youth with Skills Assessment and Gap Analysis, Apprenticeship and internship opportunities and Job Placement and Career Services through their career development journey.
In his remarks, the Principal Secretary State Department for ICT and the Digital Economy, Eng. John Tanui, in a virtual presentation by Ms. Priscilla Maina, Assistant Director State Department of Digital Economy, said the Ajira Digital Program was instituted in 2016 with the aim of ensuring one million young people, 70 percent of whom are young women, access digital and digitally enabled jobs annually.
“Today there are over 400 Ajira youth empowerment centers across the country where young people can access free computers, internet, and working space to work and earn online,” said the PS.
He added that the government has also established over 114 Ajira clubs institutionalized in universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions, to equip young people in higher learning institutions with digital skills.
“We have trained and mentored over 321,000 young people on the Ajira Digital Curriculum, 33 percent who are already working online,” said Eng.Tanui.
In his remarks, Geoffrey Kaituko, Principal Secretary State Department for Labour and Skills Development, said the program targets youth, among them people with disabilities, especially youth with hearing and visual impairments.
“This program will be delivered through e-learning. However, youth with disabilities shall be trained through face-to-face methodology,” said Kaituko,
He added that beneficiaries of the program will also be trained in data management, transcription and content writing owing to the high demand for data management in the online gig economy.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, in close collaboration with the Ajira Digital Program under the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the eMobilis Technological Training Institute, the Mastercard Foundation, and Konza Technopolis, will collaborate to ensure the success and widespread reach of the Program across the country.
By Ali Sheikh Mohamed