The Chief Administrative Secretary in the ICT, Youth and Innovation Affairs Ministry, Maureen Mbaka, has challenged youth to take advantage of the digital opportunities being offered freely by the government to earn a decent living by working online.
Mbaka has said that the country, like many developed countries, had laid down the requisite infrastructure and put in place the necessary framework policies to enable the youth to get trained and subsequently join the online workforce.
“Online work is the way to go. In fact the available digital jobs by far surpass the number of online workers. Therefore, the ICT Ministry through the Ajira Digital Programme is working together with other partners to reach out to Kenyans everywhere both in and out of colleges urging them to aggressively grab these opportunities,” she said.
Mbaka who was speaking during the launch of the Ajira Club at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri Friday at the same time challenged the young innovators to create employment opportunities for themselves by offering digital solutions to the government. She said that the government had set up a hub- the Huduma White Box- where the innovators can share their innovations which can be put to use as the government continues to digitize its services.
“I urge any young innovator to bring forth any innovations and ideas and support or promotion through our website. Priority is given to products that focus on the big four agenda and address government priorities and challenges,” she said.
The Ajira Digital Clubs was first rolled out in 2018 with the aim of enabling university and college students’ access digital job opportunities. At Dedan Kimathi, like other universities where such clubs have been set up, the club will act as training, incubation and linkage centre where interested university students will be trained on skills such as online writing, transcription, digital marketing and virtual assistants before they can take-up job opportunities.
According to the university’s Head of Career Services Daniel Njoroge, more than 200 students from the institution have been trained since March this year. Njoroge said that 100 of the beneficiaries were currently working virtually while still undertaking their studies.
The University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Ndirangu Kioni would continue to invest in systems and partnership with players in the private sector to ensure that graduates are able to secure employment. He notes that a significant number of the students from the Ajira Digital programme were already benefitting from meaningful employment.
“There are many examples from the programme that help change the narrative that there is work for young people. The narrative will have to change and we will have to figure out how to sell this message and explain to other young people about the opportunities that are available to them, “he said.
Kenya Private Sector Alliance Ajira Digital Programme Director, Ehud Gachugu noted that the programme was an important cog in transforming Kenya’s economy and addressing youth unemployment.
He noted that online jobs contribution to the economy presently stood at Sh 810 million and it was projected to rise to 1.4 trillion by 2025.He urged the youth to support the government and the private sector initiative by embracing online work.
“More than 50 per cent of all the jobs that are currently present will be automated in the next 10 years, while 5 per cent of the jobs would disappear. In essence it means that nine out of every ten jobs will require digital skills and digital capabilities and therefore everyone will require to be digitally savvy in order to survive and remain relevant in the workplace in the next 10 years,” he said.
By Wangari Mwangi