According to the World Bank, youth account for 60% of Africa’s jobless. Furthermore, an estimated 95 million young men and women in sub-Saharan Africa are uneducated and are either unemployed or engaged in poorly-paying precarious jobs.
The large number of young people who are not in education, employment or training is not only an indication of the poor performance of national education and training systems but also a national security concern.
To address this mishap, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) hosted a virtual meeting, Friday, June 18, 2021 with various stakeholders including students from five different universities among them Kenyatta University, United States International University (USIU)-Africa, Multimedia University, Zetech University and JKUAT to explore the topic: the future makers employability programme career talk.
Speaking during the meeting, the JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi said that to date, the programme has been able to reach out to 4800 students out of which our own University, JKUAT has 980 students subscribed to the programme, and continue to learn both real time and self-paced.
“I highly commend the 13 students with disabilities from JKUAT who have been actively participating in this programme,” Prof. Ngumi said, and further assured them that throughout the course of their studies, they will get the opportunity to interact with various industry players who will mould them to meet the industry needs.
The Vice Chancellor implored the students to take advantage of such interactions and gain as much as possible. In a pool of thousands of graduates, the unique mix of skills, abilities and personal qualities that they will gain from these engagements will set them apart from the rest in the puddle.
Prof. Ngumi further implored the students to always remember that employability is not just about getting a job, but rather about a broader set of skills and attributes that will enable a graduate to be successful throughout their working life.
“It is imperative to note that there are inevitably, a wide range of skills that could be useful to employers. Each of us has our own personal range of skills with the capability to make unique contributions to any organization,” Prof. Ngumi advised.
She advised the programme participants to identify their niche and leverage on it for their own betterment and that of society,” she added.
On his part, the CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya and East Africa, Mr. Kariuki Ngari said, although industries are recognized as critical agents of graduate employability, they must partner with other stakeholders to provide employment opportunities to university graduates.
Universities are an important agent in addressing graduate unemployment by making their graduates employable through best practices.
“For example, universities could establish degree programs based on a market needs assessment, effective quality assurance systems, and effective university-industry partnerships and collaborations,” Mr. Ngari affirmed.
Industry players need to engage the young minds as they strive to bring solutions to the challenges facing society. Concerted efforts towards the empowerment of students will ensure the ultimate goal of transforming their lives and making them employable is accomplished.