At least 600 youth are set to benefit from a three-year partnership between KCB Bank, KCB foundation and Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) aimed at training and empowering them with skills that will enable them to secure overseas jobs as seafarers.
A total of Sh155 million has been set aside to be disbursed to the youth as bursaries to enable them to avail training opportunities for a period of three years commencing 2023 depending on their qualifications.
Speaking during the event State Department for Shipping and Maritime Principal Secretary (PS) Nancy Karigithu disclosed that the arrangement will see the youth receive safety training in shipping and maritime as well avail unsecured loan products from KCB bank to secure visa documentation, embarkation costs and other travel logistics.
Karigithu acknowledged the need for more private-public partnerships to enable the youth to take advantage of available maritime opportunities.
“We will play our role in licensing the qualified youth following their training and thereafter oversee their transition into the maritime industry and overall welfare. Given our youthful population we aim to position the country as a hub for maritime vessels across the globe,” she said.
The PS noted that the youth will be trained in accredited technical vocational training institutions vetted by Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).
“Minority groups, Persons Living With Disability (PLWDs) and women are a key consideration for the opportunities,” she added.
The PS also called upon the youth to be patient as all the training is life skills and a journey. She further cautioned them to stop embracing lamenting on social media about their problems in regard to unemployment.
“There is an unemployment crisis in the country as we have a huge bulge of young people who are not getting into employment but the government is doing the best to assist you in achieving your goals. We look at this crisis not as a challenge but an opportunity for us to be innovative and get into other areas of production such as tapping into the maritime sector to increase our Gross Domestic product (GDP),” she said.
According to KCB Director of Retail Annastacia Kimtai the efforts are in line with KCB’s commitment to tackling youth unemployment through a sustainable approach focused on providing opportunities for the youth to thrive.
“Our end goal is to unlock access to seafarers’ jobs in the international maritime fleets for our youth and provide a bridge to finance through joint efforts with KMA and KCB foundation. As a local bank with global solutions, our intention is to continually provide solutions that are geared towards uplifting the livelihoods of our young people,” added Kimtai.
Mombasa deputy governor Francis Thoya affirmed the county’s commitment to supporting the project and co-operating to enable the empowerment of youth from the coast and the entire country.
“We are still grappling with the challenge of low transition between secondary schools to the university in the region thus the need to empower our youth skill-wise to connect to the job market,” said Thoya.
By Chari Suche