USIU-Africa, Kenya Bankers Association and Serianu have unveiled an industry-led training program to add 2,000 cyber security professionals in Kenya.
Known as Cyber Shujaa, the training program’s novelty is illustrated in the development and implementation of a harmonized cybersecurity employment framework linking the industry and the training institutions.
It targets to bring 1,000 women on board as cybersecurity professionals and to support at least 30 young people as cybersecurity entrepreneurs.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the consortium members, the Vice-Chancellor, USIU-Africa, Professor Freida Brown reiterated the University’s commitment to action research which calls for interventions and co-creation of knowledge with stakeholders.
“This project enhances our university-industry-government-civil society linkages to promote similar future partnerships. This project will brand itself to become a cybersecurity institute to offer a nationally recognized certification in the area of cybersecurity,” said Prof. Freida Brown.
While the dearth of skilled cyber security experts is a global challenge that experts say requires 2 million new practitioners, at the local level it is equally severe, with Serianu research showing that Kenya needs to hire at least 1,000 new experts annually.
“The shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals has become alarming. We recognized that a multi-agency approach to creating a pathway for learners to transition into the industry as practicing cybersecurity executives is key to bridging the local skills gap,” said William Makatiani, the Chief Executive Officer of Serianu.
Makatiani pointed out that the firm’s research had established that Kenya’s burden of burgeoning cybercrime, estimated at Kshs 10 billion in annual losses, was exacerbated by a severe lack of sufficient well-trained cybersecurity executives.
Through the consortium, Kenya Bankers Association will provide the market intelligence that informs the curriculum development, USIU-Africa will design the curriculum and ensure the youth are at the heart of the program while Serianu will provide the technical training and practical immersion.
Outlining the industry’s practical fit for the program, Kenya Bankers Chief Executive Officer Dr. Habil Olaka said that the financial services sector was a key interested party in its success owing to the nature of their business and the fact that it touches every sphere of the economy.
“This partnership provides a unique approach to capacity building and skills development where there is a direct relationship between the content that the students are taught and where the financial sector’s present and future needs lie,” said Olaka.