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Government reaching out to IT multinationals for skills support

By FRANKLINE SUNDAY | June 9th 2014
By FRANKLINE SUNDAY | June 9th 2014

Kenya is reaching out to multinational companies to bridge the biting skills shortage in the IT industry in a move likely to help graduate engineers get job opportunities.

This comes as the Government states that the country needs to train 1,000 engineers in the telecommunications industry to provide skills support for the sector.

According to ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Kenya is lacking in the number and quality of high-end skilled engineers and this has hampered growth in the sector.

He said the effects on this shortage have been a problem particularly in rolling out IT services to the counties.

Dr Matiang’i made the remarks at a ceremony where the Government and Chinese company Huawei Technologies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help develop skills and capacity among engineering students in the country’s universities.

The MoU signed by Dr Matiangi and Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, entails a commitment by Huawei to an engineering students’ internship programme.

It also involves, a broadband Stakeholders forum to be held in October and infrastructure development among other things.

Over the next three years, Huawei will give a total of 100 internship opportunities to engineering students in 4th and 5th year of study commencing July this year.

furthering skills

The top ten attaches each year will be offered a chance to further their skills in China. University students who wish to participate in the programme will have to apply online where they will undergo a rigorous selection programme that will be conducted by the Kenya Education Network.

Huawei’s Kenya Chief Executive Dean Yu, said the company remains committed to offering its expertise and experience in contributing towards the National ICT Master plan in which skills development is a key pillar. “We will work together with the ICT Authority to implement the agreed upon responsibilities which we believe will contribute towards realising the development and growth of ICT as an industry,” he said.

The Government has also stated that at least four other multinationals have pledged support to assist in similar training initiatives that will boost the number of trained telecommunications engineers.

“We are having constraints in resources but we hope that with partnering with these industry players and others we shall be able to see about 500 engineers trained in special skills and absorbed into the system over the next two years,” said Dr Matiangi.

Data from a recent study by consulting firm EY states that Kenya’s corporate industries are cutting their reliance on expatriate talent and turning their sights to local specialised talent.

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