East Africa: Microsoft, Homeboyz Launch Tukoworks Portal to Help Youth Access Jobs

Digital Content

Microsoft and Homeboyz Foundation have launched an online portal that will help youths acquire entrepreneurial and employability skills.

Dubbed "TukoWorks", the portal aims at providing Kenyan youth with free resources, training, career guidance services and entrepreneurial opportunities through a network of accessible tools and content on various opportunities in addition to skills and enterprise development resources. To check out information on the portal, users will be required to do a one-off sign up at no cost at www.tukoworks.co.ke which can be accessed from computers, tablets and mobile phones.

The launch was attended by government officials including Eng Peter Mangiti, principal secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning; Kunle Awosika, country manager, Microsoft Kenya; Myke Rabar, chairman, Homeboyz Foundation and Carole Kariuki,CEO, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) as well as representatives from Rockerfeller Foundation among others.

TukoWorks (local slang for 'we are at work') is meant to help reduce the number of unemployed youths, aspiring entrepreneurs and school leavers across the region by offering them with the required information to develop their skills.

Kunle Awosika, country manager, Microsoft Kenya said: "The introduction of the portal was necessitated by the need to bridge the information gap for job seekers, aspiring entrepreneurs and school leavers by providing a network of accessible opportunities on various openings as well as necessary training on how to start a new enterprise."

"We hope that the TukoWorks portal will become a national authority on employability and entrepreneurship that will bridge the gap for job seekers, aspiring entrepreneurs and the young people of Kenya. Our aim is to match the right skills to appropriate jobs, equip youth with the necessary training, tools and knowledge required to succeed in their desired job," he added.

Kenya is the second country after Nigeria which has developed YouthWorks in sub-Saharan Africa, a program that Microsoft Corporation hopes to roll out in 19 countries across Africa and Middle East. The 2012 African Economic Outlook (AEO) report highlights the fast but unemployment growth pattern on the continent: 200 million young people aged between 15 and 24, representing 60 percent of the total population and 45 percent of the labour force. This presents an enormous potential to transform Africa's developing economies into the leading source of talent in the global market.

"KEPSA has decided to engage the this project because there is a problem with the job market with quite many of them being very unemployable, this leads to certain situations like the youth being used for negative political agendas. We consider youths as a resource and thus need to tap the reousrce to elp curb unemployment. We consider youths as a resource and thus need to tap the resource to help curb unemployment. We hope the youths will make use of the portal," said Carole Kariuki.

With youth unemployment continuing to be a problem in many African countries, Kunle said that individuals, governments and the private sector should play a collective role in creating jobs.

Speaking during the launch, Homeboyz Foundation Chairman Myke Rabar said, "Many young people have little or no skills and are therefore largely excluded from productive economic and social life. Those that have some education often exhibit skills irrelevant to current demand in the labour market. Leading to a situation where educational and skill requirements are increasing and thus, resulting in millions of unemployed and underemployed youth".

"Our work with Microsoft, centered on entrepreneurship and employability skill enhancement, stems from The Homeboyz Foundation's mandate which is to empower young people to develop their abilities and enrich their capabilities so that they can reach their fullest potential," he said.

The Portal also has special features like: Career guidance tools, Job matching, Extensive training options, Mentoring and volunteering matching and Social media integration.