Students conclude internships in Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya – Sept. 21, 2012 – NetHope held a graduation ceremony in Nairobi today for 37 IT students graduating from its inaugural Kenya NetHope Academy class. NetHope Academy – a six-month program that provides computer science students with both classroom and on-the-job IT skills training – translates vocational training into full time professional employment for young Kenyan adults. In fact, NetHope expects that more than 80 percent of students graduating from the program today will be in full-time IT positions within the next three months.
In March 2012, NetHope expanded its successful Haiti NetHope Academy program to Africa, making it available for the first time on the continent to students in Kenya and Rwanda. Kenyan students began their NetHope Academy journey in Nairobi with two weeks of intensive classroom and online training where they developed the most current and relevant IT skills. The students then began their internships, where they gained nearly six months of on-the-job experience that allowed them to refine the skills they learned in the classroom. Given the success, NetHope will host its next Kenya Academy classes in September.
“We’re thrilled that NetHope Academy has been so successful in Kenya,” said Frank Schott, Senior Global Program Director of NetHope Academy. “The students are what make it work; we have the best and the brightest youth competing for the program, and they give it their all. I’m so proud of their accomplishments and the value they bring to the Kenyan IT industry.”
IT professionals are in high demand across the African continent. Employment opportunities, however, are often limited to those who have work experience. NetHope Academy provides training and certification in the most relevant technical skills, supplemented with practical on-the-job work experience and daily mentoring and guidance. As a result, graduates of the program are fully competent in the current IT sector and highly employable. NetHope Academy works closely with technology partners including Kenya ICT Board, Accenture and the Accenture Foundations, Microsoft, Cisco, ESRI, Global VSAT Forum and others to bring the best offerings to the intern program.
Two-thirds of the students in the Nairobi class are women, who NetHope believes will play a crucial role in growing the ICT sector in Kenya. NetHope partnered with the African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) to identify the highly skilled young women who are now students in NetHope Academy and with both Microsoft and Cisco offices in East Africa.
“According to a 2011 National ICT Market Survey, although an estimated 9,600 ICT graduates are absorbed in to the market annually, a third of the companies still contract external providers due to lack of relevant high end skills and work experience in our workforce,” said Eunice Kariuki, Marketing Director for the Kenya ICT Board. “The Kenya ICT Board has been elated by the opportunities offered by NetHope Academy in improving the capacity of these local ICT graduates.“
Kenyan students interned with a variety of host organizations including CARE, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, and Computer Revolution Africa, among others. NetHope Academy also provided the students with job placement assistance and connected them with mentors who provide regular guidance and evaluation.
“Pursing a job in technology has not been easy. Most companies and organizations wanted employees with at least three years of experience,” said Liz Kerosi, NetHope Academy Graduate. “The competition was fierce; other candidates were highly educated and had various IT certifications. But thanks to NetHope Academy, I got the chance to take a powerful Microsoft course and participate in Women’s TechConnect, which gave me the hope of getting a full time job thereafter. Many companies believe if a woman has managed to go far in her studies, she must be very smart and strong enough to handle a top job,” says Liz. “To all the women out there, go ahead and advance yourself without fear.”
In addition to its traditional NetHope Academy program, NetHope recently launched a new program optimized for students who aspire to become IT entrepreneurs vs. IT professionals like the students enrolled in the traditional NetHope Academy program. NetHope is partnering with Enablis, a Canadian- based nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs in the developing world, to facilitate its entrepreneurial academy in Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana. Students will be admitted based on how well they compete in a business plan competition, and the top students will receive mentorship from current entrepreneurs. Select entrepreneurs will receive seed funding to pursue their business plans.
NetHope, Inc., which started in 2001, is a new-generation collaboration of the international community’s leading nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) representing over $33 billion (USD) of emergency relief, human development and conservation programs in more than 150 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, NetHope enables members to leverage their technology investments to better serve their end beneficiaries. For more information, visit www.nethope.org.
For More Information Contact:
Brendan Blandy, NetHope Media Relations