The Presidential Digital Talent Program on course in building ICT capacity for the country
“The Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP) is the most transformative ICT program ever conceived in Kenya. Through this Program, I have gained sharpened my ICT skills beyond what I learnt at the university. The professional and technical skills from my mentors drawn from both government and the private sector have transferred a lot of knowledge to me and I feel I have adequate job experience. I believe i bear the digital promise for this nation.’’
These are the words of Michael Kitheka, an intern at the Ministry of Labour, who is a beneficiary of the Presidential Digital Talent Program that was formally launched by HE President Uhuru Kenyatta on February 10th, 2015.The first cohort PDTP 2015/16 saw 100 interns graduate in January 2016 and most of them have been absorbed in both the public and private sector. The second cohort of 400 interns during the FY 2016/17 are set to graduate at the end of November 2017.
The President, who passionately believes in the youth, conceived the Presidential digital talent Program as the vehicle that will build capacity within government to a); ensure effective service delivery and b); create the next generation of globally competitive ICT, leadership and technology talent that will transform Kenya. The program offers participants an opportunity to understand government services, and provides them with a chance to contribute towards improving service delivery to Kenyan citizens.
It is noteworthy that PDTP has received support from the private sector and through that collaboration has become one of the most efficient Public-Private sector Partnership programme ever realized in the country’s ICT sector.
The PDTP is domesticated at the ICT Authority which is the implementing agency. According to the Authority’s Ag. CEO, Mr. Robert Mugo:
‘’Through the Presidential Digital Talent Program, government is leveraging on ICT to enhance service delivery to Mwananchi. PDTP has also increased the chances of getting employment for the youth who have received skills transfer through the training. With the support of partners, the programme has brought about remarkable improvement of service delivery countrywide and is now recruiting interns for its third phase’
According to the ICT Master Plan, PDTP is the program that is geared towards equipping our young ICT graduates with hands – on ICT skills. This will go a long way on closing the gaps in innovation, job experience, training and certification which employers always look for in fresh graduates.
It is for that reason that the yearlong PDTP training is a mix of public and private sector attachments, intense specialized training, and certification. In addition, trainees work with seasoned mentors for career guidance and are challenged to innovate with a view to enhancing public ICT services. Successful PDTP trainees graduate with a merit certificate and may get preference in joining the public sector in ICT-related positions.
In order to ensure that the participants are getting the best out the program, the ICT Authority, through the Ministry of ICT has been working with other government Ministries and agencies to assess the kind of skills required for efficient service delivery and then train the interns on them.
On the third phase of the recruitment, 400 ICT fresh ICT graduates are to be recruited and the application process is ongoing. This will run for 14 days starting Tuesday October 17, 2017. The recruitment is targeting the third cohort (PDTP 2017/18) who are expected to embark their internship programme from January 2018.
The Director of Partnerships, Innovations and Capacity, Eunice Kariuki, has called upon young IT graduates to take advantage of PDTP saying:
‘’Through PDTP training, interns get the opportunity to bring to citizens excellent e-government services to make our dream of becoming a knowledge economy a reality. To continue our track record, we are calling on all unemployed and those who graduated within the last two years with either 1st and Upper 2nd degree holders in ICT and Engineering, from every county, and in particular, girls, to apply.’’
In conclusion, Kenya has the capacity, in her ICT experts, to drive the knowledge economy that we are already in.