By Julius Omondi, Kampala, Uganda
With 60 percent of Africa’s youth unemployed, an innovative IT firm, Techno Brain, has hatched an ambitious plan to help curb this trend by offering over 4000 IT scholarships to successful school leavers.
The move aimed at equipping students with the modern IT skills draws students from all over the continent to up to 24 months study period. This is a stimulus program to help the industrious youths access the much needed skills and steer the growing industries. According to Techno Brain CEO Manoj Shanker, despite a decade of strong economic growth, the economy has not created a thriving job market for the youth of Africa, a fact that is creating a vacuum in the continent and affecting the youth, leading to unemployment, crime and drug abuse.
He further explained that there are colleges and universities providing such education although thronged with numerous challenges. The challenges include lack of quality of education, limited space hindering students get seats or pursue education in their area of interest or drop out due lack of funds. “Govt. accredited programs are available but execute not up to date curriculum and also have limited seats and it is behind this scenario that we have initiated this drive to bridge the skilled manpower demand gap,” added Shanker.
The program dubbed Techno Brain Careers in ICT (TCICT) is aimed to provide state of art training and delivery within their centers and affiliated college campuses around the continent. The program design not only focuses on Technology, but also competencies in Soft Skills, Operational Management skills supported by global technology/non technology certification, projects and Internships, mapping the exit skills to the needs of the African employability market.
Prospective beneficiaries applied for the program after it having been publicized through various media platforms. Being open to school leavers and even working youth with a desire to better their career prospective, the initiative attracts a huge number of applicants. “We received over 5000 applicants who had to undergo an aptitude test from which over 4000 students were eligible. We offered 100percent scholarships for 30 students which is amounting to USD 40000 and rest were provided scholarship ranging from 20percent to 75percent based upon their performance,” explained Shanker. On a normal basis the programs fees per semester is about USD 900. The enrollment process completed in April 2014 and the program is now set to take off.
The scholarship includes courseware and tuition fees and participation in projects, industrial visits and Internships. The company has also identified over 100 instructors for the program with about 80 of them certified across various technologies a fact that Shanker noted will ensure that the beneficiary students gets the best. Some of the successful students from this initiative are absorbed by Techno Brain with the remaining ones being outsourced to other ICT firms who value the skills in question. Since the inception of the program 8 years ago, Techno Brain has placed approximately 4000 students. “Students have also been internally placed in our Training, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and solutions divisions.”