Microsoft Teams Up With Local Partners to Encourage Kenyan Female Graduates

By Skills Junction

More than 150 female graduates from 24 universities across Kenya have been selected for a development programme headed up by Microsoft and a selection of local partners.

The EmployMentor scheme has been set up to promote skills development and job placement for young female graduates in tech and business orientated industries.

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Alongside Microsoft and its 4Afrika initiative, the African Centre for Women in Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) has helped form EmployMentor which will consist of one-on-one Skype sessions and in0house weekly training; both of which will demonstrate the effecitive utilisation of technology to gain information worker knowledge for 20 of the mentees for eight months.

 A main benefit of the initiative, and the 4Afrika programme in general is also to gain a better understanding of African markets and trends with this programme in Kenya the latest in a long line of Microsoft functions across the continent.

“Unemployment is a challenge for many youth, and initiatives such as EmployMentor can bridge the skills gap between academia and the working world,” said Kunle Awosika, Microsoft Kenya country manager. “Through the 4Afrika Initiative, Microsoft aims to play an active role in the evolution of Africa from a labour-based economy to a knowledge economy, by empowering local innovation, up-skilling youth with 21st century ICT skills and providing Internet access.”

During the EmployMentor week, all participants will engage in mock interview and business case challenges, coupled with financial-modelling training that will help them experience a real-world business pitch and interview scenario.

This could also lead to an interview for a position at Microsoft. In addition, a mobile app development and guest speaker series will be included in the weeklong event. Skills training, content development and support will be provided through the recently launched Kenyan Employability Portal, Tukoworks and the Microsoft Virtual Academy during the EmployMentor week.

The curriculum will also be localised to ensure it is in line with the requirements in Kenya and complemented by the ACWICT’s Life Skills curriculum.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, youth unemployment rates in Kenya are several times higher than the rates among adults and particularly high in cities and among females.

“There is a huge opportunity for women to fill the growing demand for ICT and business skills in Kenya, but many still face limited access to training and education,” Awosika said. Women are underrepresented in high-growth fields like science, technology and engineering, key drivers of a country’s innovation, connectedness and competitiveness in global markets.

 “When women are included in the mainstream economy, the spinoff effect is social uplift for their families and surrounding community,” said Olive Mugenda, vice chancellor of Kenyatta University. “All women mentees from Kenyatta University demonstrate a positive attitude, strong work ethic and passion to impact their community positively through business-oriented IT solutions.

“We are looking forward to what they will achieve in a few years’ time, and they will be ambassadors for more women who aspire to succeed in the business and IT fields.”

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