Kirinyaga County government is set to roll out digital space skills courses in its youth polytechnics to help young people tap into the available online job opportunities.
To prepare for the roll out of the courses, the County Government has started training tutors who will offer the courses to students.
The first lot of the trainers drawn from all the 16 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres have already completed the training on digital literacy, digital freelancing and digital marketing.
The training is being conducted by the African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT).
In a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Governor David Githanda during the closing ceremony of the training for the first lot of tutors to acquire the training, Governor Anne Waiguru said the initiative will help young people tap into job opportunities available through the online platforms.
“I believe that the knowledge that our tutors have acquired will be well utilized to increase the uptake of technology in polytechnics and our youth will be in a position to take advantage of the many online job opportunities offered in the digital space,” said the Governor.
Waiguru said digital platforms provide a wealth of online resources levelling the playing field for people who might not otherwise have access to high-quality education.
The Council of Governors Chair (CoG) said the training on digital literacy will give young people and women the skills they need to succeed in a work market that is becoming more and more tech-driven.
She challenged women and youth to take the lead in acquiring the digital skills so as to change the trajectory of their lives through the available money-making opportunities.
“Furthermore, ICT access cuts across geographical boundaries, allowing marginalized populations to communicate, exchange ideas, and take advantage of opportunities that were previously out of their reach,” she added.
Waiguru said her administration has invested in ICT infrastructure in county TVETs by establishing fully equipped computer labs with internet access.
“This training has therefore been a timely intervention and is in line with our ICT ambitions. We also expect that our polytechnics will become centers of ICT learning from which the surrounding communities will be imparted with knowledge,” the Governor said.
She said Kiamikuyu, Kaitheri, Mutitu and Mucii wa Urata polytechnics are among TVETs which already have computer labs.
“We are also in the process of equipping Nguka, Kiambwe and Kimwathi polytechnics in order to have their computer labs running,” the Governor added.
To inculcate digital competences from an early age, the Waiguru said the county government is piloting digital literacy in selected ECDE centers with a plan to eventually roll out the program in all the centers.
“Access to ICT has a significant impact on women and young people, not just in terms of employment and education but also in terms of promoting a more inclusive society. The society is able to magnify its voice, promote social justice and gender equity and equality, and dispel stereotypes that impede their advancement using online platforms,” Waiguru noted.
Elizabeth Wanja, ACWICT’s head of programs, stated that there is need for students to acquire and enhance their freelancing skills before enrolling in colleges or universities in order to secure digital jobs such as online writing for them to be self-employed.
“I would describe this type of skills as short high impact courses and would therefore recommend it for every youth. For the polytechnics, you have curved a niche, there is no competition with other TVET institutions,“ she said.
Bernadette Wairimu Karanja, a tutor at Kaitheri Polytechnic who is one of the beneficiaries described the course as “eye-opening.”
“Integrating ICT in Education will make the learning process more interesting, allowing learners to understand better and even ensure they have jobs after school,” Wairimu said.
Ndiriti Polytechnic Principal Nelson Karani said he will utilize the digital marketing training to increase student population in the facility and help young people earn money through online jobs.
“Through digital marketing, the number of students in our institutions will grow. This course is also marketable and once we roll it out, we know it’s bound to arose lot of interest,” Karani said.