The government aims at training over one million youths to find and earn a decent wage from online employment, Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has said.
Speaking during the official opening of the five days training at the Kenyatta University, Mombasa campus, Mr Mucheru said the training is part of the Ajira Digital Programme, whose goal is to provide practical solutions to the unemployment challenge that the country faces.
He congratulated the 202 youths from the region selected for the training.
“The demand for the training was very high I must congratulate you all for making it to the final list of applicants we planned to train during this pioneering phase.
“This training aims to introduce the young people to online work and provide tools, training and mentorship you need to be able to bid for work and earn a decent income from it,” he said.
In the current phase, the ICT Ministry is training 10,000 youths in six centres in Nairobi, Kisumu, Meru, Nakuru and Mombasa.
“We hope to expand this opportunity to other counties in the coming days,” he said.
The Ajira Digital Programme is being implemented by the ICT, Youth and Gender Affairs, Education, Foreign Affairs ministries in partnership with the civil society and private sector.
The aim is to bridge the gap between skills demand and lack of jobs.
“We are grateful to all the agencies for collaborating with us to achieve this objective. Rockefeller Foundation has helped us with financial support towards this training. Kenya Private Sector Alliance for coming on board as our implementing partner,” said Mr Mucheru.
The Constituency Innovation Hubs (CIH) Project is included in the programme and is designed to complement the uptake of online work.
Mr Mucheru said hubs will act as a national support network that will enable youths to access training, digital devices, mentorship and job opportunities through the Ajira Digital portal.
The hubs are technology centers with free Wi-Fi connections to enable young people in their freelancing careers.
The hubs help members of the public to access online work and information.
He said the government target is to provide four hubs in each of the 290 constituencies.
He said most youths do not access online jobs due to the high cost of internet bundles.
He said online work is similar to other jobs.
“Online work is work, meaning that it is just like any other job that equally demands commitment, hard work and diligence.
It is decent, credible, and prestigious just as those highly rated jobs. Parents and young people therefore need not get concerned about credibility and authenticity of online work,” he said.
The CS urged MPs to support the initiative.
“This requires the full support and partnership of respective Members of Parliament, a majority of whom have been slow to come on board. I challenge you to act as our ambassadors and reach out to your MP’s to facilitate the setup of these hubs in your constituencies in partnership with my ministry,” he said.