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The Kenya Forum | Bridging Kenya’s Skills and Employment Gap at Home and Abroad - The Kenya Forum

March 13, 2024

Summary

Bridging the gap between Kenya’s skill shortage and job opportunities here or overseas, therein lies the problem.

More by Correspondent

Bridging Kenya’s Skills and Employment Gap at Home and Abroad

Bridging Kenya’s Skills and Employment Gap at Home and Abroad

PS Shadrack Mwadime (Photo courtesy of the Kenya News Agency)

Diaspora remittances to Kenya now amount to nearly Sh663 billion (Sh663 thousand million) a year, sent home by young Kenyans overseas working in the information technologies, hospitality and manufacturing sectors, outstripping traditional foreign exchange earners such as coffee, tea and tourism.

Not only are inflows of foreign exchange into Kenya to be welcomed at a national economic level, they also support families across the country to pay for education, healthcare and (increasing) household and daily living costs.

Youth unemployment

Meanwhile, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate (2021) among young Kenyans in Kenya aged 20 to 24 stands at 16.3 per cent and for 25 to 29-year-olds it’s 9.1 per cent.

Speaking at the launch of the ‘Digitised Skills Inventory’ in late January, the Principal Secretary for Labour and Skills Development Shadrack Mwadime noted that at home, “We have challenges with some of the employers who feel that graduates produced by our institutions do not match requirements for the industry and economy at large”.

At the same time western European countries are crying out for skilled labour. According to PS Mwadime there are 250,000 job opportunities in Germany alone.

The skills gap

Kenya’s economy does not provide sufficient job opportunities to utilise the labour market at home whilst at the same time many Kenyans do not have the necessary skills to take advantage of job opportunities at or abroad.

Bridging the gap between Kenya’s skill shortage and job opportunities here or overseas, therein lies the problem.

Is there a coherent plan?

Instituting a National Skills Inventory mapping skills in the market to match the labour market at home and abroad is to be welcomed. Training sessions (over 300 of them) organized by the African Regional Labour Administration Centre (ARLAC) to train labour administrators in government and the private sectors are likewise to be welcomed. But together thy do not add up to a coherent government plan.

“We need to retool the graduates and other job seekers. It is important they undertake post graduate studies on practical skills for them to comfortably operate in their fields”, said PS Shadrack Mwadime.

More genuinely good technical colleges providing quality practical training would also greatly assist Kenya’s economy and improve the employment prospects of the country’s young people.

Kenya Forum readers may also like to see ‘Africa’s Demographic Dividend: harnessing a youthful population’ (11/9/2023)

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