BY EMILY GITONGA

The economy today is very much concerned with full employment. Professional institutions have grown in numbers over the past years, offering courses and training programmes in different fields. Despite this, the reality is employability of the young people considered qualified remains questionable.

Recruiters and companies are looking for employability skills among candidates for full employment. Employability skills are the general skills that are needed to get  jobs and enable one stay in a job and work themselves up to the top.

Employability skills include things like;

Good communication skills, leadership qualities, the ability to follow instructions, reliability, ability to work in a team effectively, self-motivation, a good attitude, readiness to learn, effectively follow instructions, adaptability, patience, resilience and emotional intelligence.                                                                                                                                                

The dilemma of unemployment among the said qualified youth is so because most professional institutions do not integrate these skills alongside academia. The lack of transfer of these skills is because of an outdated syllabus and system of education, lack of sufficient practical sessions and lack of language skills.

According to the report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, indications are 39% of young people age 18-35 years are in unemployment. Young people with certificates from professional institutions who are considered well qualified fall amongst this number. A critical examination of the education system and curriculum needs to be done to incorporate quality education for employability.

What solutions can be taken to address the employability issue?

Different methods amongst the government, private and academic institutions can be adopted to improve on this.

1. Public-private partnerships

The government, private sector and the professional institutions must work together to ensure development of a curriculum that is relevant to the job market. Considering the outdated curriculum that most young people have studied the steps towards identifying the right skills for the labor market is critical for employment.

2. Internship Programmes

Image by Eenovators Limited YEEP internship program

Corporations can help young graduates, improve their skills through provision of internship opportunities, apprenticeships, on-the job training and mentoring. In response to this Eenovators Limited in partnership with WE4F, IEPA and LifeSkills Consulting are running a Youth in Energy Empowerment Program.

This opportunity has already enrolled the first cohort that has undergone an energy auditing technician certification programme and essential skills training, with an internship opportunity to allow practical skills for employability.

3. Strong Links between professional Institutions and Employers

Strong links among institutions and employers will ensure young people from professional institutions acquire practical skills. Most institutions lack sufficient resources to enable learners acquire practical skills. These collaborations will ensure supply of graduates to the right recruiters for practical skills implementation and and employability.

4. Critical Examination of the Curriculum

Kenya has recently changed the system of education from 8-4-4 system to the Competency –Based Curriculum. This seeks to equip young learners with employability skills and entrepreneurial mindsets. Such measures will enable skills learning from a very young age. The curriculum needs to be consistently monitored to ensure it is applicable.

In conclusion measures need to be adopted to create a solution for employability among the youth. Skills development has to be integrated in the education system for assured results. Collaboration among all stakeholders private, public and academia will ensure employability skills are attained. Where skills may be currently lacking, young people are encouraged to be proactive enough to join programmes to upskill themselves.