EABL Foundation has launched an inaugural career mentorship forum for the youth in the country bringing together a host of multi-industry experts joined by the need to address the rapidly widening skills gap among the fresh graduates into the workforce.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, said one of the most critical interventions to address the challenge was the government’s proposal in the current fiscal Budget -tax rebates for employers hiring fresh graduates as interns for up to 12 months.
“This is just one of the many measures we are taking, conscious of the widening skills gap; the demand for skilled graduates today outstrips the supply coming from tertiary institutions, undermining the total workforce capability in Kenya. Contribution from private sector players such as EABL Foundation will help improve this scenario in future,” said the CS.
Paul Kasimu, EABL Human Resource Director, one of the experts attending the session held at the Strathmore University said, “Public and private sector organisations need to scale up efforts aimed at addressing the widening skills gap among youth joining Kenya’s workforce, to help exploit the country’s full economic potential.”
Stakeholders in the education sector said raising Kenya’s skills development level is likely to lift the country’s economic productivity, as more graduates leave tertiary institutions, potentially driving Kenya to a middle-income economy.
Strathmore University Vice Chancellor, Prof John Odhiambo, lauded the speakers and the stakeholders spanning from government, corporate sector and learning institutions. Prof. Odhiambo added that the forum would help adopt a sustainable, working framework to impart necessary skills to contribute to Kenya’s socio-economic growth.
In 2013 the government introduced measures to encourage corporate entities to engage fresh graduates in acquiring relevant experience and skills through internship and apprenticeship programmes.
“Beyond academic success, there are other critical factors that drives one’s ability to excel in the workplace critical thinking, problem-solving skills, discipline, strong ethics and integrity are some of the high demand soft skills that are increasingly shaping success in the job market,” said EABL Foundation Trustee and EABL Group Corporate Relations Director Julie Adell-Owino.