Why vocational studies are the way to go for young learners

Technical skills are the best shot to addressing joblessness among young people and steering the country’s economic development, experts have said. They maintain that parents and youth must embrace studies in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a viable alternative to university education noting that technical skills are playing a pivotal role in transforming Kenya into an industrialised, middle-income country.

Led by Gorgeous Technical Institute Director Jackie Kibutha, the experts and stakeholders called on youth across the country to go for the highly marketable world skills including fashion and design, electrical installation, welding, plumbing, hospitality, hairdressing and beauty and entrepreneurship among others to enable them meet the high demand of specialists in the country.

Ms Kibutha while speaking to journalists at the institution in Thika town on Wednesday March 13 noted with concern that the country is facing a shortage of skilled manpower to power the economy adding that this creates a noble opportunity for unemployed youths in the country to acquire the vital skills and secure jobs.

“The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment. Technical skills and/or courses are highly marketable as one can immediately secure a job upon completion and or start their own income generating enterprises,” Ms Kibutha said.

She hailed the Kenya Kwanza administration led by President William Ruto for its efforts in seeking job opportunities abroad for the Kenyan youths saying that exportation of skilled labour will help boost technical training in the country.

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Kibutha also rooted for partnership between the government and the private sector in promoting vocational skills in the country by assimilating trained youths into the job market.

For the government, she highlighted the roles such as providing digital infrastructure, procurement opportunities and financing or payment frameworks, as well as friendly policies to facilitate entrepreneurship.

“This is not just a role of the government but also the private sector and development partners working closely with academia,” she said.

Tailoring, Fashion and Design students at Gorgeous Technical Institute in Thika town.

She at the same time challenged youths studying in technical colleges to be more aggressive in acquiring additional skills such as business management and computer studies so as to have a head start in both the job market and in seeking self-employment.

Ann Kibe, a trainer at the institution echoed similar sentiments saying that technical knowledge among youngsters is the surest way to alleviate the joblessness crisis in the country.

“It’s imperative for youths to be equipped with hands-on skills that will go a long way in enabling them secure jobs or start their own ventures. White-collar jobs are drastically shrinking and are being taken up by technological advancements. To beat joblessness, we must equip our youths with technical skills,” Kibe said.

She noted with concern that the unemployment crisis has compelled many youths to indulge in drug abuse, a challenge that requires urgent interventions.

“Offering right training and funding the youth to establish incoming generating projects will help the government halfway solve joblessness challenges,” she said.

The trainer also asserted that equipping youths with technical skills will keep them stay away from drugs and substance abuse.

She also challenged graduates with degrees to enroll for technical short courses to improve their employability.

Kelvin Makumi, a student pursuing hairdressing and beauty at the institution noted that he decided to enroll for the vocational course after tarmacking for years despite having graduated with an IT degree from a local university.

“I wrote many application letters, knocked on countless doors looking for a job unsuccessfully. I decided to enroll for a technical course and I already have my clients. I’m earning while learning,” Makumi said.

Maryanne Nyangweso, another student, called on her peers to stop the over-reliance on white-collar jobs and instead pursue the technical courses with an assurance of securing a job or initiating their own income generating ventures.

By Kamau Njororge

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