The causes and reasons behind youth employment especially in Kenya vary, from an increasingly high number of youth that surpass the number of jobs available to fluctuations in the world market leading to huge economic recessions, but one that stands out is the skills crisis. The quality and relevance of education being offered in most our institutions today does not match the kind of skills that job seekers look for leading to the inability of the youth to find jobs and the inability of potential employees to hire the skills they require.
These Cross Cutting skills, which are largely not taught in most institutions in the country include life skills, communication skills, ICT, customer relations, financial literacy and entrepreneurship & savings. These skills not only restrict the youth from being employed but also feed into the national strategies of achieving Vision 2030 that strategizes Kenya as a middle class society.
In Nairobi, the CAP Youth Empowerment Institute (CAP YEI) and The MasterCard Foundation in a two-day dissemination conference are announcing a five-year, US$10.5 million partnership to provide economically disadvantaged young people with technical and employability skills and support to access job opportunities or start small businesses.
With the high demand for skills training among the Kenyan youth, CAP YEI specifically targets those youth from very poor families and environmental backgrounds in order to lift them up through skills training, employment placement, entrepreneurship and support.
This expanded partnership has been intricately placed to directly provide skills training to 23,000 Kenyan youth and help them to secure employment opportunities or further education and training. Building on the success of CAP YEI’s Basic Employability Skills Training (BEST) model, the program will reach an additional 39,000 youth through partnerships with 100 vocational training centers that will be supported to deliver market-based, demand-driven skills training across the country. The program will also support 4,000 of the targeted youth to establish or grow micro-enterprises.
Speaking at the dissemination conference, Mr.Dung’s Kaiju, Executive Director of CAP YEI emphasised on the importance of the BEST model which has become an important solution for youth seeking employment as well as employers seeking skilled workers. He also said that moving forward the plan will be to expand the program in partnership with Government and other stakeholders so that it can enable more youth to participate positively in the social and economic development of Kenya.
The partnership announcement has been able to bring together more than 200 participants at the two-day event, including experts from Kenya, USA, Canada and India to reflect on evidence and learning from the first phase of the program and discuss ways of improving and expanding the program in its second phase.
The MasterCard Foundation – which works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa – is thrilled to extend the new partnership that will contribute to a sustainable solution for youth employment in Kenya, reaching tens of thousands of youth with the critical skills they need to enter the workforce or start a small business. Karen Moore, Program Manager of Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation pointed out that in this way, the partnership will support ongoing advancements of the technical and vocational education system in the country.
The first phase of the project which was launched in 2011, has directly trained more than 9,000 Kenyan youth with technical and life-skills. More than 88 percent of these youth transitioned to jobs, created small businesses or enrolled in further education and training. The program has also helped to build the capacity of vocational training centres by enabling them to apply the key principles of the BEST model in order to improve learning outcomes in their institutions. In this way, CAP YEI has reached an additional 5,800 youth through partnerships with 46 vocational training centres across Kenya.
Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise development, Hon. Adan Mohamed, EBS, who also attended the event pointed out the importance of these life skills being imparted on the youth. He said it is especially important for those who are lucky to join the job market with the over 1 million people who join every year. Even with the advancement of jobs and the immense technology available in our society, so many still miss the chance to get employed, which only emphasizes the importance of institutions like CAP YEI with its partnership with the Master Card Foundation who have made it possible for the vulnerable youth in the society to get jobs. He also highlighted the need for the government to support such initiatives to help them in empowering more youth for the enablement of overall development of the country.
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