The rapidly evolving job market landscape is significantly reshaping the traditional concept of relying solely on a single skill acquired through formal education. Recently, Ajira, a distinguished digital training firm, emphasized that providing today’s youth with a range of skills enhances their employability and equips them to tackle challenges hindering their entry into the workforce—a fundamental shift in perspective.

During the 2023 East Africa Employability Summit in Nairobi, Simon Murimi, the Training and Job Resources Manager at Ajira Digital, emphasized a critical aspect of the current labor market: it demands individuals not only equipped with problem-solving capabilities but also possessing a variety of skills beyond their basic school training.

To address the escalating issue of youth unemployment, particularly affecting individuals below the age of 35, Ajira actively promotes a multifaceted approach to skill development. Murimi highlights not only the crucial nature but also the potential job linkages that often accompany free training programs for additional skill acquisition among youths. The need for a diversified skill set becomes paramount, especially considering that seven out of ten unemployed Kenyans fall within the youth demographic.

Ajira identifies a significant challenge: the noticeable gap between formal training and job industry requirements. Murimi underscores three factors contributing substantially to youth unemployment, skills mismatch, deficient soft skills, and limited self-driven motivation, emphasizing this critical issue. In response to this predicament, Ajira advocates for increased participation in upskilling programs among all youths, whether still in school or already out of it.

Ajira’s training programs, lasting as short as two days and requiring only a national ID for enrollment, aim to bridge this gap. They offer both physical sessions in institutions, booktables, universities, and organizations, as well as virtual sessions reaching digital hubs. The accessibility of these programs reflects not only Ajira’s commitment but also its dedication to providing skill development opportunities to an extensive audience.

In response to the skills need report by the Federation of Kenya Employers, Ajira is advocating for a regional coordinated policy on dual training. This approach merges theory with practical experience, allowing students and aspiring professionals to allocate time between academic pursuits and immersion within their respective industries. The overarching objective is clear-cut, forging a workforce proficient not only in academics but also equipped with hands-on industry readiness.

Emphasizing the importance of staying current with the evolving digital landscape, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI), Simon Murimi underscores this notion. Acknowledging AI as a transformative force across multiple industries, Ajira not only advocates for such recognition but also encourages youth to upskill, reskill, and even cross-skill, recognizing that adaptation becomes essential amidst these changes, and potentially seizing unforeseen opportunities. Furthermore, Mr. Murimi places significant emphasis on ethics, urging young individuals into discussions that guarantee responsible and advantageous use of AI, underlining its dual-edged potentiality while promoting critical engagement from these emerging leaders.

Ajira, furthermore, articulates its commitment to inclusivity through specific targeting: People With Disabilities (PWDs) and women. Setting a goal of encompassing at least five percent of PWD trainees and seventy percent female participants, the firm aspires towards an exponentially diverse and inclusive workforce.