Over 2,300 Kenyan students will receive Microsoft training and certification by the end of this month. This is in an effort aimed at closing the ever-present skills gap and to prepare them for the world of work after college.

According to the World Economic Forum, there is currently a significant skills gap in Africa with employers across the continent identifying an inadequately skilled workforce as a restriction on business growth, including 41% of all firms in Tanzania, 30% in Kenya, 9% in South Africa, and 6% in Nigeria. Also, a recent IFC report indicates  that 230 million jobs in sub-Saharan Africa will require digital skills by 2030, therefore the continent requires an injection of digital skills.

To address these challenges, Microsoft, through the 4Afrika initiative, launched a pilot programme in Kenya to train and certify graduates and interns new to the workforce, with the aim of getting these students Microsoft Certified. Students were chosen from several organisations, including the Ministry of ICT, three of Kenya’s top coding schools, Moringa, Modcom and CodeLn, from Andela and Cloud Factory.

The programme started in December 2019 with in-person events, but as the Covid-19 pandemic affected the continent, this rapidly shifted to a Virtual Instructor-led Training (VILT) approach. Since launch, more than 800 Kenyan students have been trained on Microsoft technology, and importantly, also provided with comprehensive soft skills readiness content and access to free certification vouchers for Microsoft technology exams. The programme achieved a certification rate of around 40 percent of the students. The training and certification camps also targeted a set of almost 200 trainers, who will redeliver the certification training to an additional 1,500 students by September 2020.

4Afrika enlisted the services of LGIT Smart Solutions as the learning partner to manage this training programme, student interactions and deliver training to the students. LGIT managed access to the cloud platform, issued exam vouchers, provided exam readiness sessions and gave the students access to their proprietary learning management content and readiness system.

Martin Ndlovu, Head of Skills Development at Microsoft 4Afrika, had this to say, “What’s even more important in Africa, given the youth bulge and widening skills gap, is ensuring workplace readiness for our young graduates who are finding that their degree doesn’t quite fit the requirements of 4IR and the digital economy.”