Samsung's ICT Training Plan Places 185 Into Employment in Kenya

An initiative by a mobile phone manufacturer, Samsung, and three non-governmental organisations to train youth from poor backgrounds in Nairobi in ICT and entrepreneurship is beginning to bear fruits.

While some have landed employment others have opened businesses. Out of the 746 youths that the three local NGOs -- Africa Centre for Women Information and Communication Technology, and Informal Sector Business Institute -- have trained, 185 have either been linked to employers or have opened their own shops.

The programme known as 'Samsung Real Dreams' trains in life skills, ICT and entrepreneurship. It also offers internship opportunities, job placement and business development services for up to 1,000 youth in Nairobi. Candidates of the project take courses in web design, multimedia, electronics, IT networking and salesmanship.

Eligible applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old with a minimum of C (plain) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam and lacks fees to further learning. It is supported by a $2 million grant from Samsung Electronics and is implemented in partnership with International Youth Foundation and local organisations.

Ms Patricia King'ori, the general manager, mobile division at Samsung East and Central Africa, says the initiative seeks to empower disadvantaged youth. "Unemployment is one of the key issues affecting young people in Kenya today, every year an estimated 500,000 young people enter job markets [and] only 25 per cent get employment in the formal sector," said King'ori.

The NGOs collaborate with companies like the Ken-Tech Data, a local Business Process Outsourcing company, Kenya Data Networks, Mustek East Africa, NortWest Offshore among others, where the youth have got employment.

King'ori, however, repeated a major concern that trainers and the industry join hands to produce personnel with the right skills. Tom Siambi of Africa Centre for Women Information and Communication Technology said the disadvantaged youth were facing many challenges, including company policies that restrict employment to university graduates.

"The job market is more focused on performance education, which prefers those who have undergone university education, which further stretches the competition for the under privileged," said Siambi.

Anne Ikiara, of NairoBits said her organisation has trained 550 youths out of which 47 have been employed and 133 have started their own businesses. To improve access to capital, she said they were planning to start a revolving fund for affordable credit.

Business Daily

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