Serianu has been researching, upskilling, and training in Africa for the past 10 years. Our business framework aims to bridge the supply and demand of cybersecurity skills in Kenya. Serianu provides tailor-made capacity building, certification, and placement programs to match and retain Kenyan youth in decent cybersecurity jobs.
In 2017, Kenya lost $295 million to cybercrime. Unfortunately, Kenya had only 1,700 cyber professionals in the same year despite the huge supply of unemployed ICT youth. Therefore, there is an urgent need for professionals to design secure systems and create sophisticated tools to anticipate, detect, respond, and contain cyber threats.
In Kenya, the high number of ICT graduates is juxtaposed with staff shortages in the IT sector. In fact, in 2019, employers indicated a 60% shortage of Cybersecurity professionals. Specifically, employers mention the lack of solid experience and current technology knowledge as the key gaps in the labor market. At the same time, the youth is faced with no proper placement infrastructure and a mismatch of their skills compared to what the market requires. On top of this, there are fewer women in ICT, and specifically in the cyber security sub-sector. This is due to factors such as gender segregation in employment and social-cultural stereotyping of ICT being a male career path. Consequently, enhancing women’s participation in IT-related economic activities is indispensable for tackling the deficit of cybersecurity employees and the sector’s sustainable growth.
Serianu strives to create an employment link between the supply and demand of the Cybersecurity sector. Within three years, the project will establish a harmonized link between the demand and supply sides of the industry, stimulate more gender-sensitive mainstreaming, reduce losses caused by cybercriminal activities, and help 2000 youth (50% percent women) find decent employment in the industry. We will achieve this through its tailor-made capacity building, certification, and placement program that is responsive to the employers’ changing needs.
Our project encourages the youth and employers to invest in its dynamic, tailored capacity building to collaboratively identify Kenya’s present and future cybersecurity needs. The youth will be enrolled in skills-development programs that give them the most relevant and up-to-date skills required for cybersecurity roles. Additionally, Serianu will closely work with industry enterprises to place the participants, especially women, in decent cybersecurity jobs and encourage employers to mentor the participants. This will result in high retention outcomes.
There’s currently no framework that ensures employer curriculum development participation, quality assurance, and trainee certification. There is also no placement platform that links supply and demand, no structure that enhances the careers of those employed, and no gender mainstreaming framework. CFYE’s funding will help institutionalize these missing links to develop a system that would eventually be self-sustaining.
Moreover, with CFYE’s contribution and Technical Assistance, Serianu will have more resources to utilize to train more youth. Since Serianu intends to scale up its model beyond Kenya and tap into other sectors, the partnership with CFYE will stimulate a network with players outside Kenya and stakeholders in other industries that will be critical for expanding beyond the funded project.