Microsoft Teams Up With Local Partners to Encourage Kenyan Female Graduates
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.
READ MORE ON MICROSOFT'S 4AFRIKA INITIATIVE HERE:
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.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”