The IT Bridge Academy

In an increasingly digital world, the IT Bridge Academy is making it possible for young jobseekers with disabilities in Kenya to compete equally in the job market.

Students sit in front of laptops at desks in a classroom. In the foreground, a teacher stands next to a student, giving instruction.

The IT Bridge Academy offers young jobseekers with disabilities who have a passion for IT the chance to train and get hands-on experience in the sector.

Working alongside our partners, the academy comprises nine months of classroom learning, with a syllabus adapted from CISCO’s existing IT training. After graduation, students enter a six-month internship at a top technology company where they gain real-world skills and experience. Their journey continues with a six-month mentorship managed by CISCO UK, which gives them further confidence and guidance in their job search and supports them in their early careers.

Since the first cohort graduated in Nairobi, Kenya in 2022, the majority of students have transitioned into formal employment jobs at IT and telecommunications companies, including the largest mobile network provider in East Africa (Safaricom), think tanks and and digital and technology start-ups.

This unique initiative recognises the digital gender divide and is working to achieve gender parity and a 50/50 ratio in each student cohort.

Watch the video below to learn more about the programme.

Watch the video to learn about our innovative student internships.

“The academy opened a gateway to my career, and I am now an IT specialist.”
Nicodemus, programme graduate
Nicodemus smiles broadly.

How you can support the academy

There are many ways private sector partners can get involved with the IT Bridge Academy. Partners can offer:

  • Mentoring
  • Guest speaker sessions
  • In-kind contributions
  • Monetary contributions
  • Host internships for students

Our partners at Safaricom in Kenya are an example of a company offering six-month internships for IT Bridge Academy graduates. During these internships, the students gain practical work experience at a well-known employer. They receive mentoring, are supported in their internships and can explore various areas of interest in the IT department, HR and beyond.

We can also offer support to our partners such as helping them build their own disability confidence and providing a pipeline of talent.

If you are interested in getting involved as a donor or private sector partner, please contact [email protected].

Watch the video to find out why your company should become a partner.

Watch the video to find out how we support our academy partners.

“My internship has helped me to perfect my skills. I get to build on my network and improve my career.”
Shanice, programme graduate
Shanice poses and smiles at the camera.

Our partners

Along with our partners, Sightsavers is helping to make practical changes to the way companies train and hire people with disabilities, and to develop innovative ways to help people find a job.

The IT Bridge Academy is run by Sightsavers in partnership with The National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK), Safaricom, and Three Talents, Accenture and CISCO.

The project in Nairobi, Kenya is funded by donor partners: Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, GIZ’s Global Project on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) Programme. E4D is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and NORAD and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Futuremakers logo.
German Cooperation GDC logo.
E4D logo.
Norad logo

Learn how we’re supporting inclusion in employment

Our employment work

Stories from the programme

Students of the Bridge Academy in Kenya stand outside.
Sightsavers stories

Building a career in IT with the Bridge Academy

In Kenya, a Sightsavers initative is helping young people with disabilities launch their careers. Here, some of the students share their stories.

In a classroom, a student in a wheelchair receives tuition from a teacher.
Sightsavers stories

The IT Bridge Academy: what’s next for students?

In Kenya, students who have been studying IT as part of a Sightsavers initiative are now looking ahead to their graduation, internships and future careers.

Two young people hold up flip charts on the wall as part of a training programme in Kenya.
Sightsavers stories

We are… training young people with disabilities

We’re working with partners in Kenya to give young people the skills and practical experience they need to begin a career in IT.