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KENYA’S APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING CRISIS

WITH PROPER TRAINING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF KENYANS COULD GET JOBS

Quality technical and vocational training could create thousands of jobs in Kenya

There is a huge demand for skilled technical workers in Kenya but a massive shortfall between that and the supply of trained electricians, plumbers, mechanics and construction workers has resulted in many thousands of these jobs going to imported skilled labour, particularly from China and India.

In 2016 student enrollment in Technical, Vocational Education and Training institutions was put at 202,556, increasing to 275,139 in 2017 but those figures are dwarfed by the statistics for the numbers of people taking up jobs in the informal sector, 787,800 in 2016, increasing to 897,000 in 2017.

The Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reported last week that over 80 per cent of jobs created in Kenya are in the informal sector.

Thousands of young Kenyans who lack sufficient formal education seek on-the-job training and work in the juakali sector which is more affordable and accessible than registering for formal colleges and technical training institutions.

However, according to the KNBS less than half of those opting for the informal sector training route receive two years or more of training and only about 30 per cent get a year’s training.

Speaking at the National Industrial Training Authority in Mombasa last week, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani called on county governments and businesses to set aside more funds for technical and vocational training to help reduce youth unemployment.

On April 30, Education CS Amina Mohamed announced the placement of 500,000 students who had missed the cut off points to enter degree programmes at university level, into technical colleges.

Whether Ukur Yatani’s call for more technical training of young people, or Amina Mohamed’s announcement, result in positive action is yet to be seen. What is for certain is that Kenya should treat the question of the quality technical and vocational training of hundreds of thousands of young Kenyans as a matter of the highest priority.

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