ACWICT held an ICT4Development Career Fair on the 29th of November 2018 at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.
The event specifically targeted youth and young women. The purpose of the career fair, organized by The African Centre for Women & ICT, was to expose and connect them to the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities available through ACWICT’s training programs whose training and mentorship model has so far empowered over 17,603 women and youth with at least 70% of them gaining meaningful employment or venturing into entrepreneurial ventures.
The ICT4Development Career Fair was made possible by support from Microsoft, Cisco Systems, The US Department of State and the UN Women in Private Sector.
Our guest of honour, Ms. Janet Muthoni Ouko, County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Sports, Gender, Youth and Social Services, Nairobi County was present to represented Government.
Ms. Constantine Obuya, The Executive Director, ACWICT, facilitated the event alongside the program managers responsible for the various training programs offered by ACWICT.
In addition, there were also ICT professionals who provided mentorship at the event as well as beneficiaries who had completed various programs at ACWICT to share their experience with the attendees.
Introducing ACWICT to the career fair attendees
Ms. Constantine Obuya, Executive Director, African Centre for Women & ICT
Ms. Constantine Obuya started off by introducing participants to ACWICT, why we exist as an Organization and the programs we have.
“Out of the 400,000 students in Kenya who complete Form Four, more than 320,000 do not pursue further training either in universities, colleges or other institutions due to lack of fees, inability to achieve the high cut-off mark mandatory for joining public universities and many other reasons,” she stated.
She then went on to explain that with Kenya’s youth unemployment situation standing close to 40%, an estimated 5.2 million young adults, ACWICT believes that youth unemployment is not just about limited employment opportunities but also a lack of employable skills.
She explained how ACWICT’s training model focuses on providing fully sponsored or highly subsidized short marketable courses for young people between the age of 18 and 24, geared towards providing the practical skills needed in the job market as well as mentorship opportunities to connect these young people to job or entrepreneurial opportunities.
On ACWICT’s impact, she mentioned that ACWICT had been able to reach over 178,000 young people through various programs including Coding for Employability, Dreams Vusha Girls Employability Program, Ngazi Youth Empowerment Program, Ajira Digital Program, Intel She Will Connect, Upgrade Your World, TukoWorks Youth Employability Portal and Ngazi Youth Employability Program.
“Our curriculum, delivered by over 159 trainers in 17 training centres across Kenya, is relevant in the job market improving employability prospects for the trainees,” said Ms. Constantine.
Ms. Obuya told the attendees that the career fair was organized to give young people in Nairobi a platform to learn and network and emphasized that it was a two-way learning process; for attendees to also share their ideas with the Organization.
ICT Training Options Available at ACWICT
Thomas Ayuoki; Pursuing a career in Computer Science Trainer with ACWICT
Mr. Ayuoki started by encouraging young people to take an interest in IT and Computer Science.
He went on to say that as a Computer Science graduate himself, he hopes that IT and Computer Science will become the norm as we forge forward into the future as IT is at the centre of almost everything we do.
“As an Organization we’ve been at the forefront of encouraging young people interested in IT and Computer Science. Over 180,000 jobs are generated in IT as a career path every year in Africa.” He said.
Mr. Ayuoki implored attendees to consider careers in computer programming which is highly marketable and provided by ACWICT’s Microsoft Academy.
He took participants through the course structure and what they can expect to learn in this course up to the boot camp designed to help attendees use their classroom knowledge to create real applications that impact the communities they live.
In closing, Mr Ayuoki left participants with a thought to ponder, “There are two groups of people: Those who consume content and those who create content. I urge you to be on the right side of the future by becoming the type of people who are creators not just consumers.” He said.
Jerry Odame; Becoming CISCO Certified with ACWICT
Mr. Odame who has been with ACWICT for five years, leads the Cisco Training Programs.
He took participants through the CISCO Courses offered by ACWICT, which has been an Accredited Cisco Training Centre for more than 10 years.
“ACWICT has an amazing team of instructors as well as subsidized rates for Cisco Academy.” He said. “We offer Cisco courses including CCNA and CCNP for those who want pursue careers in Network Support Engineering, System Engineers, Network Administrators, Engineers and Network Security.”
Participants were taken through the various options available for them in the Cisco Academy and advised on what courses to take depending on their interest.
Grace Nafula on how to earn money doing Online Work
Grace, after the career fair
Grace joined Vusha after she completed her KCSE. She had an opportunity to interact with a beneficiary of the Vusha Program who implored her to join.
Grace did not waste any time as the program sounded quite interesting and started out by doing three months which included: programming, cyber security, networking and the best thing about all this is that the courses were free. She realised that what really piqued her interest was online work.
She told the attendees that the biggest benefit for her was the ability to work from anywhere in the country as long as she has a laptop and access to the internet.
Taking the young people through the training she got, Grace explained that the trainers and mentors assisted her with her Profile Creation, Account Verification and Bidding for jobs after her training.
“The mentorship is a compulsory program to assist students in navigating the job market as well as sharpening life skills to be able to succeed and reap the full benefits of the ACWICT Vusha program,” she said.
Grace herself went on to become a trainer and mentor the AJIRA Program. AJIRA’s focus was to ensure young people can create their own employment opportunities and she said she feels privileged to have been able to ‘’pay forward’’ to society through the AJIRA program.
“Online work pays,” she said. “If you’re thinking of a career that gives you freedom to work your own hours, sign up for this course with ACWICT.”
Irene Githua on Launching a Successful Career in Digital Marketing
Irene Githua, who has over 20 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, shared her experience working as a Digital Marketing Specialist.
“I chose this career because there is high demand for its services, fast career progression, many working options and opportunities to branch into related fields,” she said, “However, the reason I have stayed in this field; I just love it! I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
She took participants through what it takes to be a Digital Marketer and the various work opportunities available including Agency, Brand, freelancing as well as setting up a business. Matching creative requirements with personality traits, she advised that it important to know what type of environment will suit you best.
She went on to explain the different Digital Marketer roles and how participants can choose appropriate Digital Marketing roles based on competencies and personality traits required for each.
She finished by telling participants what they can roughly expect to earn in the different levels of their career progression.
ACWICT Beneficiaries share their training experiences with ACWICT
James Movine; Network Engineer at DMM
James Movine started out his career path at the East Africa School of Aviation which was a 2-year course. After getting his certification, he found that he was not completely fulfilled and what he really yearned for was a course in the computing world. However, it turned out that he did not know where to begin his pursuit, he had no idea which school to join and really did not want to be left out of the IT world in which everything now seemed to revolve around.
James also acknowledged to himself that he did not have the money to pay for yet another course, his plan had been to join University to pursue IT but lacked the finances to satiate his appetite for learning.
A miracle presented itself in the form of an opportunity when he was invited to a youth seminar in Kikuyu and it would turn out to be a game changer for James. During the seminar, James had started to get bored and frustrated until someone from ACWICT said they offered free ICT courses! He approached the ACWICT trainer and learned more about what ACWICT does and how they impact the community. He took brochures, applied for the course he was interested within four days he had been called for an interview.
ACWICT became his second home as it gave him space and opportunity to follow his passion.
Fatma Hussein – (Microsoft Program, ACWICT)
Fatma told the young people who ranged between 18 and 25 years that after high school she was really interested in a career in Computer Science.
She saw an opportunity offered by Microsoft at ACWICT and went for an interview and was fortunately accepted into. Fatma did CISCO, Microsoft and said that she loves the technical aspects of the courses.
She has enjoyed the technical journey but mentioned that sometimes it would be overwhelming as this was a whole new world to her. She thanked the trainers who were always available to whenever she needed help and had a great support system from the students as well. Fatma said she was very grateful to ACWICT and Microsoft for making this possible. She also thanked Ms. Constantine Obuya for creating a space where young people can pursue their passions irrespective of background or financial situation.
Remarks from Ms. Janet Muthoni Ouko, County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Sports, Gender, Youth and Social Services
Ms. Ouko started by congratulating everybody who attended the event citing that it was in events such as the one organized by ACWICT that young people pick up skills and ideas to improve themselves.
As a County Executive Committee Member, Ms Ouko said part of her agenda is to represent the youth by advising government on issues affecting young people so as to provide support that can assist young people make right and informed choices.
On this note she urged young people at the Career Fair to go out and do as much as much as they can including volunteering, before, during and after training. She urged them not just wait for paying job opportunities to fall into their laps.
“Organizations like ACWICT are giving you alternatives to the normal way of looking for jobs.” She advised. ‘’What you become depends on the choices you make during your time as a young person’’
The MC, Sam Mundia, closed the Career Fair, thanking all the young people who had braved the early morning rain to show up and find a way to make the future better.
At the end of the career fair, participants got an opportunity to visit the various exhibition desks set up to answer any questions that participants had regarding courses and training opportunities as well as sign up for available courses.
The career fair attendees will certainly not be lacking training and mentorship opportunities with the support of The African Centre for Women & ICT.