Huawei Technologies has partnered with the Kenya government to roll out an affirmative program that will involve the firm employing 500 graduates from the National Youth Service (NYS) annually.
Speaking during the official opening of the national job fair organized by Huawei and the Nation Media Group, Ababu Namwamba, the Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and Arts announced that the ministry had reached an agreement with Huawei to provide employment opportunities for NYS graduates.
“The government is acutely aware of the need to develop a futuristic youth and this job fair is expected to offer insights to the degree to which our young people are prepared with the right mindsets, technical skills and professional wherewithal to navigate the increasingly complex employment markets,” said Namwamba.
He noted that the 2023 NYS cohort that will be absorbed by Huawei across various cadres will be testament to the quality of graduates that the institution produces. He added that the fact that they were exceptionally disciplined counts greatly as a preferred human resource for most organizations.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua also explained that the capabilities of the NYS graduates had prepared them for several roles currently handled by officers from the National Police Service particularly in government ministries and parastatal offices across the country.
“We are in a conversation with the relevant heads of these institutions and the National Police Service to deploy all officers from these functions that we believe can be effectively implemented by the NYS teams,” said Gachagua.
He acknowledged that digital skills were a key ingredient in the development of the youths in Kenya and announced that the government will strengthen its partnership with the private sector players led by Huawei to ensure that they are adequately reskilled and upskilled at all times.
“We recognize that there remains a serious skills gap between those required by employers and the ones taught in our institutions of higher learning and will therefore explore partnerships that will see the private sector providing input into the various curriculums offered in these tertiary institutions”, added Gachagua, pointing out that more than half of graduates lack some of the requisite technical and soft skills required by employers.
He noted that the leadership offered by Huawei in rolling out digital and entrepreneurship skills on the Digitruck across more than 25 counties to over 2,500 Kenyans was an example that other private sector players need to emulate. “Organizations like Huawei that are creating jobs for Kenyans are key partners for the government and we commit to supporting them in every way possible” said Gachagua.
Huawei Kenya CEO for Public Affairs Stephen Zang’ explained that the firm had committed to ensure that at least 30,000 Kenyans are adequately trained with modern technical ICT and soft skills over the next three years.
“Huawei, which employs more than 2,000 people directly and indirectly, is committed to building a better-connected Kenya and growing the capacity of the local people by providing specialized ICT training transferring on the job skills and internships for college graduates,” he said.
Huawei’s CEO also commended the government on its commitment to enhancing the place of ICT in the economy and to raise the profile of the digital market as a great opportunity for employment creation.
Principal Secretary for Labour and Skills Geoffrey Kaituko announced that the ministry of Labor was highly keen to connect the Kenyan youth to employment opportunities and provide them with skills for the job market.
“We appreciate that the unemployment situation is dire since less than 1 million jobs are created annually yet over 1.4 million job seekers enter the job market every year,” he noted.
Some of the challenges that he noted still persist in the labor market include low numbers of girls taking up spaces in ICT roles and the need to improve overall labor productivity, especially among Kenyan youth.
The Job fair is attended by over 100 employers who cumulatively will provide 5,000 opportunities, which are inclusive of jobs and internship opportunities to Kenyans, both for skilled and semi-skilled individuals. The event connects employers with Job seekers. The first two days, 15th and 16th are serving qualified graduates and the last day, 17th is serving the semi-skilled job seekers. On the first day, more than a thousand youth thronged the exhibition at KICC meeting potential employers.