Founded in 2007, Alison has facilitated over 23 million learners worldwide - including more than 7 million in Africa in 2021 alone. We provide more than 4,000 free certificate and diploma courses for education or skills development in everything from English to management, nursing and marketing, IT and much more.
Our Founder and CEO, Mike Feerick, has a proven track record of empowering people to advance their education or pursue their career dreams for free. With e-learning being remote by nature, social entrepreneur Mike has relished the prospect of getting to know learners in person and took a road trip across Kenya and Uganda en route to Rwanda. He is currently in Tanzania and is meeting an extraordinary group of young students in the Serengeti, before returning to Ireland.
“We have been inspired by the people we’ve met and by hearing how our courses have helped them overcome barriers to learning,” he said. “They’ve also given us lots of ideas for how we might develop Alison services further, to assist them further in their careers, and also assist those in their community to upskill and develop themselves through our free online services.”
A graduate of Harvard University, Mike describes the appetite for learning and upskilling among people he has met so far as ‘simply extraordinary’ and plans to invest further in Africa. Many people across the world have been following his travels on social media and he has enjoyed sharing accounts of people whose lives are being transformed by the equal opportunities afforded to them by Alison. Among them was Brian Masinde, who told his story alongside Mike when they appeared on Good Morning Kenya.
In Nairobi, he was ‘especially humbled’ by the presence of John Kubai among a group of graduates. John, who has been blind from birth, shared how access to free courses through our platform had "changed his life". Other meetings took place with graduates and partners in Nakuru and Kisumu, confirming Mike's view that East Africans are among the friendliest people he has met on his travels to nearly 50 countries. “I love the way East Africans address each other, not just how they welcome the stranger,” he says.
He posted what a pleasure it was to meet an 'extraordinary' group of Alison graduates in Kampala, Uganda, and hear a huge variety of stories of achievement and personal empowerment. "Alison is recognised as the only truly free global workplace skills and training platform. In Uganda, with one of the lowest individual incomes in the world, this is hugely important. 42 million people live in Uganda with an average age of just 16.7 years!" he posted. "While we get many testimonials sent to us daily via many channels, meeting our users in person is very inspiring. There is so much more we can do in Africa."
"Rwanda is a huge surprise,” he added on LinkedIn. "In parts, one might think one is in a well-organised, prosperous part of Switzerland. Great infrastructure. Pleasant, helpful, friendly people with an intense interest in skills training and workplace education. Our graduates are using the skills they learn for free with Alison in a variety of industries, particularly hospitality, horticulture and agriculture. Many graduates are middle management - completing free courses on supervision, HR and project management."
He added that Rwanda is a "great place for international conferences - our visit is the first step of significant investment here."
The final leg of our CEO's tour of East Africa brings him to Tanzania. A highlight will be presenting Alison certificates to an 'extraordinary' group of young women at the Tanzania Development Trust-funded Hope for Girls and Women Project in Mugumu, in the heart of the Serengeti. The project provides a safe environment for those escaping female genital mutilation. Girls often arrive at Hope’s Safe Houses late at night having made their way from remote, rural villages in the dark.
Ten students, along with their teacher, Herry Kasunga, have learned how to use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. "We at Alison want to empower these young women to lead independent lives," said Mike. "Alison is quietly empowering tens of thousands and young women around the world for free – this is just the latest, if wonderful, example!"
Apart from certificate and diploma courses, Alison is packed with features to help Learners, like our popular Workplace Personality Assessment and the Workplace Wellbeing Test, while the mobile app makes learning on the move easier than ever. Along with career guidance, new features include a resume builder, and we have recently launched an Affiliate Programme where Learners can earn as they learn by referring their friends and family to us.