Microsoft 4Afrika in conjunction with USIU (United States International University) has today formally kicked off operations of an AppFactory at the Incubation and Innovation Centre I2C at the University.
A report released by the Commission for Higher Education says that more than 50,000 students graduate annually from private and public universities in Kenya. Only half of them are suitable for employment. And of these graduates, more than half are not suited to their career choice, the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) notes in a survey.
The unemployment rate stands at 40 per cent, with the highest percentage among the youth between the ages of 18 and 34 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. it takes a university graduate five years to get a job in Kenya according to the British funded study on unemployment and higher education
Since the Microsoft 4Africa Initiative launched 4 years ago, the aim was to address the competency gap between ICT graduates and employment by equipping students with high level skills in designing, developing, implementing and managing modern software solutions.
The initiative will provide an experimental way of learning, encouraging students to develop new skills, attitudes and ways of thinking. In addition it will provide access to first grade jobs through the new Microsoft Partner network, increasing the employability of USIU Africa students and unemployed graduates from other universities who participate in the programme.
“Despite hundreds of students graduating in ICT, IT companies are still finding it difficult to recruit graduates who are ready to contribute as software developers, without first taking them through extensive on the job training.” says Professor Paul T.Zeleza Vice Chancellor USIU Africa.
The I2C AppFactory will be the 14th AppFactory to be launched in Africa having set up in Wollo University in Ethiopia in May last year. Other countries with the same initiative include Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritius and Malawi.
Lutz Ziob Dean of Microsoft 4afrika Academy says across Africa AppFactory students will learn how to build digital solutions in business, finance, healthcare, education, agriculture, tourism and transportation. He adds that as they become experienced software engineers working with modern technologies from cloud computing to secure coding, bots and data analytic start ups and corporates are snatching them up.
“Graduates from the AppFactory are highly sought after. Virtually all of them find work often even before they graduate” he adds.
USIU Africa will host the AppFacory while Microsoft on the other hand will provide assistance and access to various plat forms, tools and networks to successfully operate the programme. The I2C AppFactory will target final year ICT student from USIU as well as fresh graduates from other universities. Every 6 months 30 students will become software apprentices and receive training and mentorship by senior software craftsmen.