Kenya’s most acute skills gaps are the most likely to create employment but they have been overlooked for long as youths pursue the ever elusive white collar jobs.
The most marketable skills which can create jobs are in construction, automotive engineering, ICT, carpentry, animal husbandry, agribusiness, fashion and design and the skills required for the oil and gas industry.
Safaricom Foundation Trustee, Stephen Chege, says that this highlights the clear gap between the market needs and the technical and vocational skills available in Kenya which “we aim to address”.
But this may change with companies diving in to have the gaps filled by providing mentorship and sponsoring students to pursue careers away from the crowded mainstream.
To address these gaps, embattled Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and Safaricom are separately investing millions to train and mentor young Kenyans.
The mentorship and training programme by Safaricom is meant to improve the beneficiaries’ personal and career development.
Huawei is partnering with E-mentoring Africa to mentor and train underprivileged children in Kenya.
In the Safaricom Foundation programme, at least 3,000 youth are set to benefit from the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme over the next two years.
The foundation has set aside Kshs132 million for the programme that will see ICT enabled skills centres set up across the country.
Piloting the programme will be implemented at the Waithaka Technical Training Centre through a partnership with the County Government of Nairobi, Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) and the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA).
“The programme will focus on entry-level training for four key areas within the construction industry namely welding, plumbing and electrical engineering. The funds will be used for student’s fees, teacher training, setting up smart classrooms and construction of state of the art workshops” said Stephen Chege, Trustee, Safaricom Foundation.
The high school graduates who undertook a mentorship and training programme were 10 males and 2 females. Some of them are former street children from Dandora, Kawangware, Kasarani and Lenana.
With the financial, psychological and spiritual support from Bosco Boys Kuwinda, the beneficiaries have not only been able to pursue primary education but also complete secondary education.
The initiative is supported by Huawei as part of the Connected Conference, organized by the ICT Authority in October 2018.
This project saw 60 tablets donated to Bosco Boys Kuwinda, Karen and students of Bosco Boys getting soft skills training and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) training facilitated by E-mentoring Africa and TotoSci Academy respectively.
More than 138 students at Bosco Boys Kuwinda in Karen have benefited from the programme.
Huawei has invested Kshs 2 million in the project and continues to provide more opportunities for the youth to discover their full potential through ICT.
The Chinese company which is under siege from the US and some countries in Europe on allegations of espionage using their equipment has sponsored several student events in Kenya to empower students with ICT skills.
In Kenya, those with technical and vocational education and training are more likely to secure a job than those with a university degree.
An analysis by the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) shows that employability for people with vocational training is at 96 per cent in comparison to just 40 per cent among those with a university degree.
“Of greater concern is the fact that most graduates are neither ready for the job market nor do they possess the technical know-how that would help them run their own businesses nor create employment,” Chege said.
The TVET centres will provide best practices in skills training, effectively addressing emerging skills gaps, aligning training with industry needs and engaging industry, government and corporates for a holistic skills ecosystem.
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