NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ambitious plan that will guarantee at least 100,000 new jobs every year is closer to being roll-out after the National Employment Authority finalised regulations to facilitate placement of graduates in internship positions.
NEA Chairman Winnie Pertet said if the policy is adopted by the Cabinet, it will the pave the way for the recognition of internship programmes across the public and private sector in order to improve the employability of job-seekers in the country.
She said the transformative internships will enable graduates to sharpen the skills they learnt in college as they prepare to either gain employment or venture into business.
“Our graduates leave the university or colleges but when they join (the workforce) the employers say they are half-baked. In some cases, we have seen that employers have to retrain them in order for them to fit into the workplace. We are seeing this is leaving a gap between what they are being taught and the demands of the workplace and we are saying that the internship opportunity will give them the ability to bridge the gap between their knowledge and capability and what is expected at the workplace,” said the NEA Chairperson.
A few years ago, the Engineers Registration Board declined to register graduate engineers from universities and technical institutes after it doubted their competency courses in civil and structural, mechanical and production, agricultural and bio systems engineering.
The programme aims to increase the graduates’ knowledge of workplace skills by providing them with on-the-job training that integrates education, career development and work experience, thus allowing the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a professional setting.
The graduate internship programme, or paid apprenticeships, will see all graduates from universities and technical institutes absorbed by government and the private sector for a period of 12 to 18 months.
Pertet was speaking during a meeting with the National Assembly Labour and Social Welfare Committee which wanted NEA to elaborate the strategies it has put in place to curb unemployment in the country.
Speaking during the launch of the internship programme in June, President Kenyatta said it was at the heart of the 2017 Jubilee manifesto.
He said the government will fund part of the programme directly or through tax breaks and other measures in a programme to be implemented in close collaboration with the private sector.
During his State visit to Germany last year, he studied closely an internships programme that is fully supported by the German private sector and senior officials have since been to Germany and other countries to benchmark the best model for Kenya.
The government is already talking up its other youth jobs initiative known as “Ajira”, which looks to take up around a million jobs available to Kenyans online. Already 50,000 youths have signed up and are being trained and made aware of opportunities available to them.