From security guard to cloud security expert in 6 months

How Interns4Afrika turned one young man’s life around

In 2017, Gilbert Ngetich was living in Gataka, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. His brother worked as a security guard at a local bank, and Gilbert would often accompany him to work at night so that he could study in the men’s washroom. It was the only place with light and an electrical socket for his laptop.

Next to the bank was technology firm, M2M Systems Limited. After hearing about Gilbert from his brother, M2M put his name forward for the Microsoft Interns4Afrika programme. Gilbert was accepted and completed a six-month internship – where his technical, communication and problem-solving skills soon flourished.

Today, Gilbert works as a full-time Cloud Engineer for M2M Systems Limited. In July 2017, they sent him to the Microsoft Inspire partner conference in Washington D.C., where he was able to learn, network and make new business contacts.

It was Gilbert’s first time on an aeroplane.

“I got to meet with partners from various parts of the world, including Russia, Germany, Asia, Canada, and the U.S. I got to interact with Technology Alliance Directors, Marketing Alliance Teams and Microsoft consultants. I’m now more inspired and more determined than ever, to work extra hard to give back to M2M systems for allowing me such an opportunity,” says Gilbert.

The intern programme helped Gilbert develop the right skills and confidence he needed to advance his career. He now hopes to pursue a postgraduate programme in one of the universities in America.

The dual benefit of internships

Across Africa, companies both large and small are struggling to hire the right talent to remain relevant and competitive in the digital age. According to many researchers and experts, over half of all the children currently in school today will work in jobs that don’t exist yet. But only 1% of these children will have the required digital skills.

Interns4Afrika changes this. By bridging the skills gap, it is making Africa’s young people – who make up the majority of the working population – more employable.

Interns are exposed to sales, marketing and technical jobs with high ICT intensity, preparing them for jobs of the future. At the same time, Microsoft partners are accessing and developing the future-ready talent they need to modernise their businesses.

In the last three years, 4Afrika has placed 400 interns with 60 partners across 20 African countries – with 90% of these interns being retained by their host organisations.

“Interns4Afrika is a typical win-win for organisations and interns. We benefit from the interns by utilising their raw innovative ability, energies and eagerness to impress. The interns cut their teeth in real working situations, learning and putting into practice what they have learnt. This is just what start-ups and young graduates need,” says Swiftly, an e-Shipping start-up from Ghana. They received 12 interns from Interns4Afrika, who assisted with market research, lead generation, online marketing, programming, event exhibition and customer service.