The first cohort of 170 trainees has graduated from the Cyber Shujaa program run by the United States International University-Africa (USIU- Africa) in partnership with Kenya Bankers Association and Serianu Limited.
The program, which is funded by the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE), seeks to address existing gaps within the ICT and Cybersecurity sector in Africa by continuously analyzing the market and industry for ICT talent needs, designing practical curriculums for these needs, conducting vigorous training for the participants, and providing market placement and mentorship of these youth.
Specifically, the program offers Data Protection training which had a total of 90 graduates selected from 47 banks in Kenya drawn from the fields of Risk, IT, Security, and Compliance or Legal whereas the Cybersecurity Analyst Training had 80 trainees, with 10 already placed with different organisations.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, USIU-Africa Interim Vice Chancellor Prof Freida Brown said that the graduates from the Cyber Shujaa Program will assist their organisations to become more compliant with Data Protection and Cyber Security.
“Today, we are able to see the impact of this program since its launch. The trainees you see here today have gained practical skills in Compliance with Data Protection Regulations including Data Inventory, Impact Assessment, Policy documentation, Incident Handling and Data Privacy Governance,” she said.
Brown added that 40 percent of the graduates have been able to take their organisations through the registration process for the Data Protection Act.
At the same time, Central Bank of Kenya Deputy Governor Sheila M’Mbijiwe noted that the training is a major contribution to creating a safer and secure cyberspace that underpins the Kenyan financial sector.
“Today’s graduation is a confirmation that Kenya is making important strides in protecting our peoples’ data in all sectors of the economy. We will all leverage technology to ensure that our organizations implement IT security systems and awareness training programs,” stated Ms M’Mbijiwe.
Serianu Chief Executive Officer (CEO) William Makatiani said, “What really motivated us to partner with USIU-Africa is their commitment to provide their students with the skills that are in high demand right now and a willingness to be innovative in their curriculum delivery to meet the needs of the modern workforce.
Makatiani noted that professionals are no longer receiving adequate cybersecurity training on the job, and many firms are already having trouble filling cybersecurity positions.
The CEO reiterated that additional on-the-job training, new certifications, and accessible cybersecurity and data privacy courses are needed to fill the gaps. “A multi-agency approach is key to bridging these gaps,” he said.
By Michael Omondi