Safaricom has partnered with USIU–Africa to launch a one-year mentorship programme that will see students undertaking various degree courses at the university paired with mentors from the telecommunications company.
The programme, which is being introduced on a pilot basis, is a first for Safaricom, as the company seeks to take a more proactive approach to building the skills gap between what corporate organisations need and what graduates are trained in.
“There have been widespread discussions on the quality of graduates leaving our universities. Many corporate organisations have raised concerns over graduates’ readiness for the workplace, so it is our responsibility to partner with learning institutions to transform the lives of these students by ensuring that the skills we require are imparted to them before they graduate,” said Safaricom C.E.O. Bob Collymore during the programme launch.
“Failure to do this is an injustice to the hundreds of thousands of graduates released into the Kenyan job market every year,” he added.
The Safaricom USIU-Africa Mentorship Programme will connect 20 students to 20 mentors drawn from Safaricom’s Women in Leadership and Women in Technology teams. The students will also be mentored by Safaricom Rising Stars, a select group of employees recognised for their leadership potential and rapid career growth within the organisation.
“We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with Safaricom to launch this programme, which we feel will be highly beneficial as we seek to prepare our students for the increasingly competitive job market,” said Prof. Freida Brown, USIU-Africa Vice Chancellor.
“I believe this programme is key to achieving USIU-Africa’s vision to be a premier institution of academic excellence with a global perspective and will give our graduates an advantage as they go out into the world,” added Prof. Brown.
The programme is structured to ensure its impact is measurable, and will involve face-to-face interaction between mentors and their protégés each month, as well as regular feedback forums and team building to deliver a holistic approach to personal, academic and career guidance.