Empowering Youths through Digital Skills

By Treezer Michelle Atieno

In the ever-evolving landscape of the digital age, acquiring relevant digital skills has become imperative, not only for personal growth but also for addressing societal challenges and stimulating economic development. Nairobi County, in collaboration with IBM Skills Build, has taken a significant stride in this direction by training the first cohort of 1,000 youths on emerging technology skills, including Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Data Science, through a comprehensive three-day technical webinar program.

The culmination of this training marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards empowering the youth and harnessing the potential of digital technology to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. Elizabeth Ndung’u, the County Director of Digital Economy and Startups, underscored the importance of equipping the youth with digital skills, emphasizing their role as catalysts for change and innovators capable of leveraging technology to address global challenges and fuel the growth of startups and entrepreneurship.

According to Elizabeth, the initiative aligns with the vision of the Nairobi County Governor, who is committed to creating economic opportunities for the youth. It also resonates with the long-term goals outlined in the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) 2023-2027, which prioritizes the development of tech talent to support the burgeoning startup ecosystem.

IBM Skills Build, in collaboration with the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI), launched the SkillsBuild for Students for Africa program, aimed at bridging the digital literacy gap and creating a new talent pool for 21st-century jobs. This initiative equips Kenyan youth with the necessary skills to pursue professional careers, empowering them to explore entrepreneurial opportunities and contribute to the digital economy.

John Matogo, Corporate Social Responsibility leader for the Middle East and Africa at IBM, highlighted the significance of the focused and facilitated learning provided by the program. He hoped the participants had enhanced their technical skills and experienced personal growth through the training.

Stephen Gachogu, Information Security and Data Networks Expert at AFRALTI emphasized the timeliness of the training program, particularly in light of the government’s digitization efforts. As the digital transformation of government services unfolds, acquiring digital skills becomes indispensable for individuals seeking to thrive in the digital economy.

The training program culminated in an online test, where participants had the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in the acquired skills. Upon achieving an 80% pass mark, the participants were awarded digital certificates, validating their competence in the respective domains. The program attracted youth from various regions across Kenya, underscoring its broad reach and impact on the digital literacy landscape.

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