Ajira Digital Celebrates AWS Re/Start Program Learners
Ajira Digital celebrated the graduation of its first four cohorts of the AWS re/Start program at Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi. AWS re/Start is a 12-week free online training program that covers fundamental Amazon Web Services Cloud skills and practical career skills, such as Python programming, DevOps, SysOps, Cyber Security, and Artificial Intelligence Process Automation, helping individuals prepare for entry-level cloud roles and connect them to potential employers and other digital work opportunities.
Since inception, the program has welcomed more than 500 unemployed youth in Kenya in less than two years, preparing them for a life-changing career in cloud computing and more than 320 have already graduated from the program.
The Ajira AWS re/Start sets a stage for young Kenyans to access free cloud computing technology, among other skills, to access employment opportunities and, most importantly, be able to compete in the global market. The Ajira AWS re/Start is a program within the Ajira Digital program, which is an initiative of the government under the Ministry of ICT, Innovation & Youth Affairs in partnership with Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works program, KEPSA, and eMobilis Mobile Technology Institute.
The program helps prepare unemployed and underemployed individuals for new careers in cloud technology through real-world scenario-based exercises, labs, and coursework, students build a range of skills in a number of technology areas, including Linux, Python, networking, security, and relational databases.
Speaking during a previous launch event of the Ajira AWS fifth cohort in September, Ms. Nyambura Kariuki, a representative at the office of the Cabinet secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs (currently ministry of ICT & Digital Economy), lauded the AWS, eMobilis, and other partners for supporting the Ajira AWS re/Start program and re-assured of the government’s commitment to providing a conducive operating environment across all sectors, especially ICT, through the National ICT Policy, which is anchored on Kenya Vision 2030.
“The ICT Policy, which is driven by 4 key pillars including Mobile Pass, Markets, Skills & Innovation, and Public Service Delivery. These pillars are geared towards the realization of the potential of the digital economy while leveraging the power of ICT and innovation. I challenge the trainees to explore the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which drives automation, massive data exchange, and the impact of micro and macro environments as well as continued growth in the level of ICT consumption globally,” she said.
Concurring with Ms. Nyambura, during the 5th cohort launch virtual event, the eMobilis Managing Director, Mr. Ken Mwenda congratulated the trainees and registered his appreciation to the Ajira AWS re/Start partners, including the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, AWS, Ipnotized, Azubi Africa, and Safaricom, for their commitment to supporting skills development for Kenyan youth.
Mr. Ken expressed confidence in this group of 80 young Kenyans joining the Ajira digital AWS ReStart as they were selected out of a pool of 3,875 candidates who had expressed interest in the program. Out of these 80 on-boarded trainees, 36 are female, while four are people living with disabilities, translating to 44% and 5%, respectively which speaks to the program commitment to inclusivity.
Sheila Olga, one of the graduates of the Ajira AWS Re/Start program said she had the opportunity of applying for the program in late December last year at the height of Covid-19 pandemic after her friend currently working with a UK international organization introduced her to the Ajira Digital Program.
“It was so hard to get a job in Kenya because no one was really hiring and if an organization was hiring it was mainly trying to keep whatever it really had. So for me I had the experience working in hospitality, I am basically a marketer, communications and sales person by profession. I was looking for work but I was not getting any response, so I decided to sign up for the program because at that time, everyone was saying tech is the hottest thing and I was like why not start from the scratch as much as I had studied hospitality so I decided to switch and see what is good there,” Sheila Olga said.
“We were taught programming, Linux foundation, how to use python, how to code and how to do data analytics. It was a 10-week program, and in the last three weeks of the program we got access to Amazon. The essence is that we have to understand the basics in order for us to understand the Amazon program. If you don’t know how to use python or code, it can be very difficult to put something on Amazon or code for a client,” she added.