Skills for Virtual Gigs


IREX, KaziRemote, and the Kenya Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and Youth Affairs collaborated on a research initiative that focuses on equipping youth with the skills they need to succeed in virtual gigs and leverage their new skills for future professional opportunities.

The initiative focused on training and supporting youth (ages 18 to 29) who reside in Mombasa County, Kenya, to access and secure virtual gig work opportunities.  The training taught soft skills—what we call Essential Skills —as well as transcription, a technical skill.  The research provides learning on how to implement initiatives that prepare youth to earn consistent incomes from virtual gig work and use their experience to pursue long-term professional goals.

How It Works

This initiative seeks to strengthen youth soft skills and offer career development opportunities for youth. Participants gain training and post-training support, which strengthens their ability to secure virtual gigs and transition to sustained careers or entrepreneurship.

We define a virtual gig as a form of self-employment in which a client hires a temporary worker to deliver products or services primarily through online engagement. Virtual gigs can include:

  • Microwork: Involves microtasks that can be completed in seconds or minutes
  • Online freelancing: Involves larger projects that often require greater expertise 

While many interventions in Kenya teach participants technical skills for virtual gigs, companies report that these workers often do not have strong enough soft skills for the work. Skills for Virtual Gigs addresses young people's need for career development opportunities that align with the growing gig economy. 

The initiative promotes gender and social inclusion by making it a priority to recruit and engage young women and marginalized groups and using inclusive training approaches and follow-on support for trainees after the training.


The initiative teaches transcription skills and time management skills plus a subset of IREX's Essential Skills:

  • Positive self-concept
  • Adaptability
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Resilience
  • Entrepreneurial thinking
  • Communication
  • Learning to learn

For more information about each skill, read about our Essential Skills approach


IREX’s Center for Applied Learning and Impact collaborates with programs around the world to assess impact, conduct research, identify and apply insights, and promote learning. We use our learning to create cutting-edge thought products aimed at enhancing our global impact. 

KaziRemote is an impact sourcing transcription service provider in Kenya that offers 100% human generated transcription services as a way of creating jobs and changing youth unemployment. KaziRemote works with both global and local clients to provide safe, secure, and cost-effective transcription, subtitles, captions, and translation services.

Kenya Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has responsibility for formulating, administering, managing and developing the information, broadcasting and communication policy. It is mandated to formulate policies and laws that regulate standards and services in the information, communication, and technology (ICT) sector, telecommunications, and the media industry. It is also charged with the responsibility of developing and administering ICT standards, building capacity of mass media and ICT, and the dissemination of public information through the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.