20 February 2021
ICT Minister Meets Freelancers at Creativa Innovation Hubs in Governorates

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talat has met with a group of entrepreneurs, graduates of the Information Technology Institute (ITI), who received training at Creativa Innovation Hubs in Dakahlia, Menofia, Minya, Sohag, Qena and Aswan Governorates.

The meeting was held via videoconference during the ICT Minister’s visit to ITI, in Smart Village, to communicate directly with young people, learn about their educational experience and job opportunities on freelance and remote work platforms, and listen to their suggestions and visions for development.

Talaat stressed that developing young people's skills in freelance and remote work is one of the strategic objectives of the training plans carried out by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to empower young people in the online freelance job market. This is in addition to leveraging the advantages of online freelancing in helping young people work remotely and find decent work-from-home jobs, without being limited by geographical boundaries. This will help them join the international job market and gain its experiences.

MCIT is keen to establish Creativa Innovation Hubs nationwide to develop young people’s digital skills and promote innovation and entrepreneurship, which will help the ICT industry flourish, Talaat added.

The ICT Minister engaged in an open discussion with trainers, mentors and freelancers on ways to promote freelancing, remote work, being a freelancer, and the challenges and opportunities they face. He underlined that freelancing helps many young people acquire skills, work in new fields and not being limited by the field of study, adding that ITI and the National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) offer many programs in digital technologies to hone and deepen skills.

Talaat said that many countries now adopt such transboundary model of work that depends on efficiency, experience and competitive costs. He added that young Egyptians are excellent freelancers, as they possess distinguished digital technological skills that qualify them to compete for jobs at the international level. He called on young people to keep on learning to keep up with the fast-paced development in ICT.

The freelancers commended the level of training, mentorship and guidance they received at Creativa Innovation Hubs, which helped achieve their ambitions and develop their careers, as many of them changed career to work in technology despite holding an irrelevant college degree. They stressed the importance of promoting freelancing among university students to change the mindset of searching for typical job opportunities and urge those students to focus on acquiring freelance skills.

The young people discussed the most important disciplines and training courses they received at Creativa Innovation Hubs, which helped them develop their skills and gain wide experience in online freelancing in different technology fields.

Training also helped many young people receive high rating on international freelance platforms, which qualified them to find decent high-paying freelance jobs in regional and international job markets, with an average monthly salary of not less than USD 500, starting from the early months of the job. Examples of these jobs are at companies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, India, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.

The young people said that their efficiency qualified them to receive more projects and gain clients’ trust, which helped sustain their work in permanent projects. With the increased size of work, many of them formed teams with their colleagues to meet the growing demand.

Over the past year, MCIT launched several initiatives to build young people’s capacity in freelancing. These initiatives include Freelancing and Remote Work Initiative, implemented by ITI. The initiative portal includes content on technical and freelance skills, success stories, a base of industry experts, and partnerships with freelance platforms. So far, the number of subscribers of the portal amounts to over 50,000, and the number of trainees in nearly 3,900.

During his visit to ITI, the ICT Minister conducted a number of interviews with “Tech Ambassadors,” including experts and faculty members in Dakahlia, Menofia, Minya, Sohag, Qena and Aswan, who specialize in different fields, most notably integrated systems and software engineering, which are the most in-demand areas in both local markets and freelance platforms.

The Tech Ambassadors program was launched by ITI at Creativa Innovation Hubs. The program aims to enrich and increase the trained people working on promoting advanced technologies, which stimulates training and increases the number of beneficiaries of ITI programs.

MCIT is working to establish Creativa Innovation Hubs, through which many programs are implemented through ITI, NTI and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC). Training comes in line with a number of pillars, including providing professional track consultancy, organizing technical and practical training programs in ICT, training technology ambassadors from faculty members, providing certified services and certificates in cooperation with the private sector, supporting freelancing, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, and creating an enabling applied technological environment for modern technology trends.

For her part, ITI Chairwoman Heba Saleh said that to complete training, trainees are required to find a real freelance job in one of the available training tracks. This requirement represents a strong motivation and helps promote freelancing, which is one of the main objectives of training. This in addition to linking training to a range of popular specializations on freelance platforms, including Geographic Information System (GIS), graphics, web development, mobile application development and integrated systems.

During the visit, the initiatives launched by ITI last year were presented, along with how they are managed and followed up, target numbers and what has been achieved, including information security training initiatives with Palo Alto, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives with both Google and the École Pour l'Informatique et les Techniques Avancées (EPITA).

The visit also discussed the content on Mahara-Tech platform, which ITI has recently enriched with many consultancies in advanced professional specializations, in collaboration with distinguished experts of industry in those fields.

Moreover, the visit addressed the outcomes of the protocol of cooperation signed by ITI and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) in India. This comes as part of ITI efforts to sustain training services on Mahara-Tech platform and enrich the content provided, through the content that NASSCOM will provide on the platform, including a range of in-demand skills that trainees can refer to in their careers.

Talat met with the Head of the IT-ITeS Sector Skills Council at NASSCOM to discuss a proposal for developing a general framework and standards for digital competencies and freelance jobs to support freelancers, especially in digital business. This is in addition to developing a single language for those working in the government, private and freelance sectors, in collaboration with leading corporations in digital technology, that employ many freelancers.

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