Nairobi, Kenya – June 14, 2012 – NetHope has from June expanded its successful program to Africa, making it available for the first time on the continent to students in Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. 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 private sector employment for young adults. Historically, more than 80 percent of NetHope Academy graduates have secured full-time IT positions within three months of completing the program.
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 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.
In March 2012, 36 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’ll gain nearly six months of on-the-job experience that will allow them to refine the skills they learned in the classroom. In addition to the Nairobi class, 36 other students in Kigali, Rwanda also began their NetHope Academy program in March. Nearly 700 students applied for a total of 72 coveted spots between the two programs.
“We’re thrilled to bring NetHope Academy to Africa,” said Frank Schott, Director of NetHope Academy. “The students enrolled in both our Kenya and Rwanda academies are incredibly bright and eager to excel in their internships. We really have the cream of the crop in these classes.”
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 in ICT (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 to help recruit and place the students in internship positions for the next six months. The students are currently interning with a variety of host organizations including CARE, Save the Children, Dimension Data, the Government of Rwanda, among others. NetHope Academy also provides the students with job placement assistance and connects them with mentors who provide regular guidance and evaluation.
In addition to its traditional NetHope Academy program, this summer NetHope will launch 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 will partner 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. Enablis will begin accepting applications for the program in June.
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. “The Kenya ICT Board is elated at the opportunities offered by Nethope Academy in improving the capacity of local ICT graduates. It's only when these gaps are addressed, that we will be able to achieve Vision 2030,” says Eunice Kariuki, Marketing Director Kenya ICT Board.
“We have been working closely with NetHope Academy since its inception in Haiti to provide interns with real-world IT work experience and practical education needed by employers working in the developing world,” said Adrian Lajtha, chief leadership officer at Accenture. “By expanding its efforts in Kenya, NetHope will equip students with the skills to become IT professionals and make a sustainable difference to the local economy.” Accenture’s commitment to NetHope is part of the company’s Skills to Succeed initiative, which will equip 250,000 people by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business.