Vincent Mugambi, Developer & Platform Manager, Microsoft East and Southern Africa

Microsoft is having its second annual Open Door event from today in East Africa. Kenya will host the event on Tuesday 18th October and Wednesday 19th October while Rwanda will host the event on 20th October. At the event, Microsoft East and Southern Africa announced the launch of the Microsoft Virtual Academy, a fully cloud-based learning experience leveraging Microsoft Cloud Technologies.

The Microsoft Open Door is a major technology experience where Microsoft leaders, developers and partners meet and interact and Microsoft also showcases its latest generation of technologies to local tech professionals and enthusiasts.

The key aim of the Microsoft Open Day is to mingle with the local tech student communities  as well as the established IT professionals. Through the platform of Microsoft Virtual Academy, the tech giant looks to encourage and promote local innovation and improving employability. Students now have access to a variety of free online training content and platform enabling them to learn at their own pace and build the necessary Information Technology skills critical to most careers.

A Screenshot of the MVA platform

At the Press event this morning to announce Microsoft Open Door activities, Vincent Mugambi, Developer & Platform Manager, Microsoft East and Southern Africa said “Microsoft has stepped up its partnership with local universities to empower the students with the best technology tools to enhance their learning experience.”

“We are striving to develop a culture conducive to innovation. As we recognize that the potential to innovate must be nurtured early-on, Microsoft will continue to provide appropriate and superior learning tools to encourage innovation,” said Mugambi.

The Microsoft Virtual Academy comes hot on the heels of the recent launch of Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) programme, an educational and promotional program for undergraduate and postgraduate students majoring in technology related disciplines such as computer science, computer information systems, and information technology. It aims to enhance students’ employability and increase students’ awareness of Microsoft technologies. Student Partners are offered training especially in product-specific skills not typically taught in academia.

Following completion of the program, Student Partners are expected to share their knowledge among the academic community through arranging courses, giving presentations and initiating projects. The tenure for the Microsoft Student Program is one academic year and can be renewed on acceptable performance.

Microsoft has already identified 15 student partners in Kenya drawing membership from Strathmore University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultural Technology-JKUAT, Methodist University, University of Nairobi and Kabarak University. These students have proven their technology prowess as well as their effective articulation of Microsoft technologies.

Microsoft Virtual Academy and Microsoft Student Program are both driven by Microsoft’s strong belief that no other investment promises bigger return than an investment in skills – in the community, in the classroom, or in the workplace. By focusing on skills development, the company is not only improving employability, but contributing to the development of local knowledge economies, and arming African people with the tools to develop their own solutions to the continent’s challenges.