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Unemployed and unschooled youth in Kenya to benefit from skills training programs

The Government has entered into a partnership to offer the youth skill training programs to enable them earn a decent living through employment and self-employment.

The Ministry of Education in conjunction with Cap Youth Employment Institute (CAP YEI), MasterCard Foundation and other partners will empower Kenyan Youth with employable skills using the Basic Employment Skills Training (BEST) Model.

Speaking on Tuesday during CAP YEI’s 2019 Annual Learning Workshop, the Principal Secretary (PS) State Department for Vocational and Technical Training, Dr. Kevit Desai said the biggest challenge facing Kenya today is unemployment among young people.

Dr. Desai cited that among the challenges affecting the youth was inclusion, stating that in many parts of the country, most young people remained disadvantaged by geography, culture or historical marginalization.

“A key challenge is the mismatch between the skills offered to youth and the skills demanded by potential employers,” said the PS.

Dr. Desai added that the government has been working to address the problem by carrying out various Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector reforms which included prioritizing significant budget resources to the construction, refurbishment and equipping of technical institutions across the country.

The PS stated that the introduction of Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) framework has addressed many challenges of skills mismatch by providing for industry engagement in curriculum design, implementation and management of TVET institutions.

“Major progress has been made over the past three years with over 300 industry approved curriculums developed and made available for any skills training institution for use,” said the PS.

The PS mentioned that the BEST model CAP YEI has been working with vocational Training Centers across the country to offer them skills and support in order to adapt a market based, demand lend approach to skills.

“CAP YEI has been able to reach over 57, 000 vulnerable youth with skills support, achieving a commendable transition rate from learning to earning exceeding 80 percent,” he said.

The  CAP YEI Executive Director, Ndung’u Kahihu stated that CAP YEI targets the most vulnerable youth such as school drop outs, those from poor families and others in remote parts of the country.

“To date, we have 45 institutions, directly trained 35, 000 young people and about 22, 000 youth have been trained indirectly through 147 vocational skills training Centers that we work with by providing them with technical and moral support to give them confidence to apply our principles to get the same results,” said Kahihu.

He added that the last five years have seen a lot of commitment of resources in terms of reforming the TVET sector by the government.

“Just last year, there was commitment of funding to provide scholarships and capitation fees to enable young people go into the TVET sector and gain skills that will help them gain employment,” said Kahihu.

Kahihu indicated that the skills were targeted to achieve youth transition into wage employment immediately after training but over time move to self- employment or mixed livelihood.

“Youth starting businesses in manufacturing sector have their businesses delivering higher incomes whereas agribusiness and service sector are providing higher employment opportunities,” said Kahihu.

He added that male incomes tended to go higher up than female after training and highly marketable courses included plumbing, air conditioning and refrigerating.

Kahihu said the aim of the workshop this year is to consider the findings of two studies which included a gender inclusivity study and a seven year tracer study of CAP YEI youth.

“It is important for us to share these findings with the wider TVET because we know of the important work the government has been doing in reforming the TVET sector and addressing the challenge of youth unemployment and inclusion in Kenya,” said Kahihu.

By  Rosebell Njega/Joseph Ng’ang’a

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