Let me start with some self-disclosure. When I finished high school in Nyamninia Secondary School in the Gem of Siaya, I thought about two ways on how to be both active and productive. The first thing I did is volunteer as a teacher of English at Ulumbi Primary School. I was there shortly, but the small stipend I earned as a teacher on voluntary terms helped me put my act together as a Form Four leaver.
Later, I matriculated into the university in Kikuyu to train as a teacher of English Language and Literature. I will point out the second thing I did before I conclude.
After the release of KCSE results, Form Four leavers start thinking about the next phase of life. In the recent past, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) abolished the application of courses in schools due to drastic changes in the New Funding Formula.
KUCCPS now is ripe to open the portal for online application of courses in line with the raft of guidelines spelt out — 18 options which cascade to 6 degree options, 4 diploma options, 4 craft certificate options and 4 artisan certificate options.
Again, once the Leavers get results, they do not join colleges on the spot. They stay at home for some months. I can say in this essay that the way they decide to use their free time will either make or break them.
Instead of operating in absence of sense, they can become productive people in society.
How? They can start by offering voluntary services here and there. Form Four leavers can start to search for work experience, which is requisite in job placement and employment.
Consequently, as they volunteer they start making some doit amount of money. Above all, the most important thing is the upskilling process. While working as a volunteer, there is a lot of self-discovery and recovery, self-development and enhancement.
In addition, as they prepare for the next level of education, they should know that they are ripe to join the world of work and provide semi-skilled labour. Some of them are now adults who can work and fend for families.
Actually, in 2023, there was a Skills Need Survey that gelled this idea.
The in-depth research focused on 521 enterprises. It was a joint effort by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Nexford University and Africa Digital Media Institute. They unearthed that 12.1% and 3.3% of employers are going for workers with masters and doctoral degrees respectively. 43% of employers prefer to employ graduates. 34% of employers go for employees with a diploma, craft and artisan certificates. Those with KCSE certificates follow suit at 23.4%.
This does not mean that I am anathema to tertiary education. Leavers should know that people go to school to add chances and multiply opportunities in life.
Advisedly, as they wait they can enroll for short courses which will provide jobs in post-haste or give them an edge while hunting for future jobs. As a sage and a scribe, I can recommend short courses such as driving, catering, public speaking, online writing, photography, videography, cosmetology, basic computer packages, graphic design, website development, et cetera.
Moreover, Leavers wishing to be productive can start with the immediate environment. It is right to state that instead of roaming around, surfing on social sites or searching for trouble, they can assist in home chores and boost home-based businesses. Solomon penned in Proverbs 20:29 that the glory of young men is their strength, but the beauty of the old is grey hair.
Think of a perfect arrangement where a family business benefits from the winsome wisdom of parents, and the synergy and energy of their children.
Lastly, Form Four leavers who yearn to be productive should submit to apprenticeship and mentorship. They should scout for people in society who are doing things they would love to do in the future and work and walk with them closely.
This leads us to the second thing I promised to disclose.
In retrospect, after high school, I worked as an apprentice at Teens for Christ (TFC). We visited secondary schools in Gem of Siaya County to speak to students. During the stasis between high school and university, TFC Directors also took me to college to pursue a diploma course in Theology. Later, when I joined university, I continued with the same noble work of speaking and training. Interestingly, I still do it now on a broader basis in around 42 counties.
Conscience convinces my conviction that so long as I am still alive and kicking, I will do it beyond Kenyan borders. The pantheon of sages was right when they said that we learn in the cradle, lasts to the tomb.
© Victor Ochieng’
The writer guides students on career choices.
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