This month we published a thought piece in Business Daily on the potential that digital media as an industry and a career path holds to curb youth joblessness in Kenya and, more broadly, Africa. We propose that the industry hold potential to not only create jobs for youth in today’s economy, but also basic digital media skills give youth the edge in a heavily saturated job market that sees 800,000 new young people reach working age every year. See below an extract from the article, and catch the full article here.
So what solution is there to provide job opportunities to the millions of young people that find themselves without any income? And what of the hundreds of thousands of young people that enter the job market every year (estimated at 800,000 each year)? Even those that have university degrees take an average of five years to secure a job, so what hope is there for the lesser educated?
One of the most promising global industries, and fastest growing job sectors, is digital media.
From graphic designers, to game developers and animators, the demand for content is leading to a corresponding increase in the availability of paid opportunities for skilled young people. Add to this basic coding skills and skills around content creation and editing, and the possibilities are multiplied.
As Kenya, and Africa as a whole, become more prosperous, and there is greater demand for cultural products and digital content for both education and entertainment from a growing literate population, the industry grows.
The global digital media industry is expected to grow by 12.6 percent in 2020, and is poised for similar growth spurts in the years to come.
One solution is therefore to equip young Kenyan men and women with digital media skills. In this way they can pursue some of the livelihoods opportunities that this sector has to offer.
These skills are not standalone skills; more and more, every young professional is expected to have a basic grasp of digital skills, and those that do have such skills have the edge on the job market over those that don’t, even for jobs that are not specifically in that sector.
If left to choose between a receptionist that just has receptionist skills (admin, customer service, etc), or one that has receptionist skills and can also format and design documents and marketing materials, or upload content to a website, the choice is relatively straightforward.
We need to give young people access to both skills and to equipment, from a young age. Particularly in rural areas, children are woefully underserved when it comes to having access to computers, smartphones or tablets, and they are therefore at a distinct disadvantage in later life.