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Plug skill gaps with training, employers told

By Nanjinia Wamuswa | Dec 1st 2019 | 3 min read
By Nanjinia Wamuswa | December 1st 2019
Project Management Institute (PMI) Kenya Chapter President Dr James Wanjagi (in front) and participants during the PMI Kenya Professional Development Day in Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Project planning and management professionals have offered to work with universities to build the curriculum and mentor students to make them more valuable and ready for the job market when they graduate. 

The Project Management Institute (PMI) Kenya Chapter says there is currently a huge gap between the college training and skills set required by potential employers, especially for project managers.

Chapter president James Wanjagi said the gap between internship and training also needs to be addressed to give students a soft landing into the corporate world.

“We want to get involved in the policy making, workshops and forums with employers, especially the human resource practitioners, to demonstrate the value of project management,” said Dr Wanjagi during the PMI professional development day in Nairobi on Saturday.

“This idea that employers only need experienced professionals and not those fresh from college must also be addressed.”

Irene Irungu, VP Events and Volunteer Programs at PMI, said the institute will also organise workshops for students to help them improve their practical skills in training.

“We have had students in project planning and management with very good papers, but when you employ them, you start spending more time and resources training and mentoring them. It becomes expensive for employers,” said Ms Irungu.

She said their research has revealed that only four out of 10 fresh graduates can deliver projects when employed.

The one-day event was attended by over 120 project management professionals and students, who were encouraged to improve their expertise to move with the fast changing trends project delivery.

Finetexx Technology Ltd CEO Ali Hassan Kassim, who gave the keynote address, urged project managers to be innovative and transform their skills so that they do not run out of business.

“Due to changing times in the field we stand on the brink of an industrial revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. Our response as project managers must be integrated and comprehensive," said Mr Kassim.

He asked those attending to learn from some of the technology companies that are driving the revolution and are not confined within a single sector based on what they do, such as Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Alibaba.

The event was themed ‘Developing Project Managers for the Future Economy’, and Dr Wanjagi said project managers must strategically position themselves by getting the requisite certification.

He said with a PMI Global certification, a project manager can work in virtually any industry, anywhere in the world, and with any project management methodology. 

“PMI professional certification ensures that you are ready to meet the demands of projects and employers across the globe,” said Wanjagi.

He said the PMI Kenya Chapter, which is only about four years old, currently has over 350 members, but only about 200 are certified.

“Our goal is to build our value and entrench project management across all projects in all institutions,” he said.

Currently there is only one PMI Global certification centre in the country, which Wanjagi attributes to the low demand for certification.

Wanjagi reiterated that project management is very important in every society today.

“There are many stalled projects, those that missed their deadline, ones that have overrun their costs and some that are gone out of scope, and we attribute this to the absence of proper systematic project management," he said.

He said research shows that 70 per cent of projects fail because of wrong execution of project management.


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