Athi River youths attending digital skills training at Champions of Christ church in Athi River town. [Source/Daniel Owit]
In May 2018, I got an invitation to attend a digital skills training boot camp at FCB Mirhab building in Nairobi.
The boot camp, which lasted for three days, was sponsored by Google. It was part of the initiative of the tech giant company to offer free digital skills training to 10 million young Africans in a span of five years.
The training was intense, as well as eye-opening, and on the last day, I was lucky to be among those selected to join the programme as a trainer. I was allocated Machakos County as my training area and from June to around September, I trained young people in Machakos County on basic and intermediary digital skills.
According to global digital report 2018, Kenya, as of January 2018, had attained 86% internet penetration. 43.33 Million out of the total population of 50.33 Million Kenyans are using the internet.
Out of this, 7.70 Million Kenyans are active social media users. 86% internet penetration meant Kenya was number one in terms of internet penetration in the whole of Africa beating South Africa (54%), Nigeria (49%) , Ghana (35%) and Uganda (44%).
What does this tell us? There is a huge appetite for internet in Kenya, especially among young people. It is upon the government and other stakeholders to harness this potential and make a positive impact on the lives of the young people.
Google is already providing free online courses to equip young people with 21st centuries digital skills which they will require to survive in this on-going smartphone revolution. Liquid Telcom is also supporting tech hubs in a bid to facilitate access to online courses for young people ( African Digital Skills 2019 report).
Some of these courses are tailored to make the young people fit in the fast-changing work environment. These skills are meant to not only help them build their own digital start-ups but also to help them manage their existing businesses. For example, Google offers short courses on the fundamentals of online marketing.
From Social media marketing, content marketing, youtube marketing, Search engine Optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and E-mail marketing. Also, online security and social media policy. At the end of the lessons, a learner takes (at his or her own time) a simple quiz. He or she is then given an internationally recognized certificate.
With this certificate, one can secure a job as an SEO expert, Webmaster, Social media strategist, SEM manager et cetera. These jobs are in high demand, which means they pay handsomely.
Apart from seeking a job, one will be adequately equipped to start and run his or own business. He can draft social media policies for small market businesses and corporates.
If he or she owns a shop, then it will be easier for him or her to take the business online and tap on the huge online market. The ball is in the court of the young people.
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