Matching skills to bridge unemployment

Reconciling youth unemployment in the country is perhaps one of the most trivial of subjects today.

According to the 2017 United Nations Human Development Index report, Kenya has an unemployment rate of a 39.1 percent with the majority of the unemployed falling below the age of 35 years.

The bountiful young population has always been a great asset to states and a cause of envy for others.

However, Kenya has failed to capitalize on this resource as most of its youth lie in distress and disconnected to employment opportunities.

This despite many in the demographic having the right academic qualification to hold up job positions.

Entry-level vacancies have however remained a viable channel into the jobs market but 40 percent of employers have alluded to a skills shortage among graduates in a matter they say continues to keep the youth out of the workforce.

Therefore, upskilling the youth for entry-level vacancies has been presented as the solution to the endemic unemployment menace. Research from Generation Kenya, a USAID/McKinsey Social Initiative funded program has proven that this could actually be the case.

In three years the initiative has churned out close to 8,000 graduates many of whom have gotten placements after just six months of soft-skills training.

Speaking to Citizen Digital on the upskilling enterprise, Generation Kenya chief operating officer Leila Ibrahim said a successful transition initiative is one anchored on the linkages between employers and trainers.

“The disconnect is mainly in employers saying they don’t have entry-level skilled youth, and in youths saying they’ve got no jobs. The goal is to create a solution by matching the two factors,” she said.

Linking youths to entry level jobs is however no easy fete according to Leila as many shy away from the openings as a result of the negative perception associated with the low-ranking job category.

An attitude adjustment is thereby required to arrive at the intended outcome.

“Not only are technical skills necessary but also changes in the mindset. There is need to impact on life skills to cultivate a growth mindset so as to enable an individual to grow from an entry level position and work efficiently to get promoted into higher organizational level,” Ms Ibrahim added.

Entry-level jobs continue to hold the key to employment for many in the country. This as government moves in to appraise the status of Technical and Vocational Educational Training Institutions (TVETs) in an effort to boost uptake.


employment United Nations Generation Kenya Human Development Index report Leila Ibrahim Technical and Vocational Educational Training Institutions

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