6 in 10 graduates have no employability skills – Report

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Students going through a technical training program./File

The mismatch between the educational curriculum and the market demand for employees is to blame for the huge unemployment rate among the youth in the country, a new survey says.

Out of the approximately 800,000 new entrants into the job market every year, 64 per cent lack the employability skills, technical mastery and basic work-related capabilities, the report by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Longhorn Publishers says.

The few existing internship programs have not helped either as employers are more focused on productivity and not the development of the trainee.

This gap has forced most of the employers to shun young graduate employees in favour of the highly skilled. It is also the same reason most companies are retaining their workforce though they may have reached the retirement age.

“Most of those seeking jobs are clueless of what they are expected to do because they lack proper skills to secure any job,” the report says.

The survey found 48 per cent of the 24 – 29-year-olds do not want to be held accountable for their productivity, another factor that was blamed for their unemployability. Kenya needs more than 400,000 artisans for technical jobs in different fields, but training institutions have leaned towards theory as opposed to impacting practical skills.

“The current curriculum lacks comprehensive training programs that combine in employability and hand on skill artisans lessons which have denied the country more than 400000 artisans,” the survey noted.

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In addition, the survey found most of the lecturers are exam passing oriented which leaves the graduates without the much-needed skills. The report also blames rapid population growth, poor ability of the labour market to train and absorb graduates, lack of structural reforms, poor infrastructure and high labour costs.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i , who officially launched the report, said there is a need to set up more technical training institutions across the country to address the problem.

“We are targeting to introduce 56 new technical colleges to address the technical skill shortage we are currently having,” Dr Matiang’i said.

The CS also blamed negative attitude the youth have towards blue collar jobs as the other major cause of unemployment. He said his ministry was in the process of identity a school per county to create 47 partners in teaching the science related subjects as early as the secondary school level.

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