400 to start internships under Digitalent programme

By Christine Muchira

Four hundred students will later this month start a yearlong internship in various Government institutions and private sector firms under the Presidential Digital Talent Programme.

This is the second lot of ICT and engineering students to be recruited by the PDTP or Digitalent programme that started last year. It is being implemented through a Private Public Partnership collaboration with the ICT Authority being the lead implementing agency.

Over the 12 months, the interns will undergo an initial one week induction, two months internship in private sector and nine months internship in government (including Counties).

Eng. Victor Kyalo Principal Secretary ICT and Innovation at Ministry of ICT said the programme will be key in addressing ICT gaps in both public and private sectors.

“This programme is designed to build and entrench ICT capacity within Government to ensure ICT effectiveness and efficiency in public service delivery. It is in line with Vision 2030 and the National ICT Master Plan Human Capital Pillar which seek to address ICT skills gap to improve public service delivery,” said Kyalo.

He spoke Wednesday during a breakfast meeting for Digitalent partners called to give an update on the programme so far. The partners are drawn from both public and private sector.

Robert Mugo, acting chief executive ICT Authority said there are plans to increase the number of graduates being taken up, with 800 interns set to be recruited in 2017 from 400 this year. Last year, the programme had recruited 100 students for the internships.

“We have proposed to do double the number of interns being recruited under the programme but this is still in its early stages. We are evaluating the modalities of how this will be undertaken,” said Mugo.

He said this has been informed by the impact that the programme has had on the initial group of students. Mr Mugo added that for the programme to continue achieving its set objectives, there was need for increased support especially from private sector.

“For us to be able to recruit a bigger number of interns and in turn have a bigger impact for the industry, we need more support from players in both public and private sectors. This is in form of more mentors, more placement opportunities especially within private sector and working tools such as laptops,” said Mugo.

He added that the first lot of students that is now ready for graduation had positively impacted the organisations that they had been placed in, both in public and private sector.

“The first batch of students to go through the programme were very productive and innovatively contributed towards the goals of the institutions that they were placed in. We have seen some of them already coming up with innovations and products that can solve day to day challenges, which have been informed by their experiences at the different work places where they were stationed,” said Mugo.