As the clamor for employment in a shrinking economy continues, some initiatives are seeking to bridge the gap by offering training to enhance suitability for the job market.

This will help make bright futures by offering alternative training for on-demand products and services which are usually ignored by mainstream training.

One such initiative is Generation Kenya’s Youth Employment where already, 130 young Kenyans celebrated their graduation in September from a training programme designed to advance employment opportunities for disadvantaged youths.

The graduates will be taking the next step towards careers in the fast-growing financial services sector.

The graduation is the second for the new Generation Kenya programme, which currently has three sites-Buruburu, Kangemi, and Dagoretti. Generation is a non-profit programme targeting young workers, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Together with a range of partners, including employers, non-profits, and funders, Generation Kenya’s first classes are providing young adults accelerated training as financial services sales representatives. Those who complete the programme successfully are guaranteed two interviews with Generation’s employer partners who are Barclays Bank, Bank of Africa, Britam, Liberty Insurance, and Old Mutual insurance. The programme is run by McKinsey Social Initiative.

Building on the success of the first classes, Generation Kenya Programme plans to expand into other locations and other fast-growing professions in the coming year.

“There have been many great partners involved in launching this programme, and we’re looking forward to expanding Generation in Kenya to reach many more young people,”

said Mehdi Sinaceur, Generation Kenya Programme Director.

In partnership with CAP Youth Empowerment Institute, Generation offers a six-week ‘boot camp’ training programme geared towards low-income, 20- to 30-year-olds who achieved a minimum of a D+ in KCSE, and who are currently unemployed or underemployed.

The graduation ceremony of the 131 youths. [Photo: McKinsey Social Initiative]

The graduation ceremony of the 131 youths. [Photo: McKinsey Social Initiative]

The programme gives students who did not have the opportunity to attend university the chance to enter formal employment.

“Of the 263 interviews that our candidates had, 60 percent resulted in two offers. Generation students prove themselves through their ability to demonstrate the skills needed for the roles, something they learn by spending 70 percent of their programme time on fieldwork and interactive sessions,”

Ndung’u Kahihu said, the executive director of the CAP Youth Empowerment Institute.

He added,

“Their success is a testament to what’s possible when hardworking Kenyans are given the opportunities to make the most of their talents.”

Generation Kenya launched in May 2015 with the first graduating class on July 10, 2015 of which 50 students saw a 100 percent job placement rate, and their on-the-job performance has been excellent to date.

“I joined Generation Kenya because it was an opportunity to improve my future. I had a hard time finding employment before, but now I’m excited about my new sales role and I am looking forward to working my way up through the organisation. Not only has the programme given me confidence in my own abilities and the skills I need to be successful in sales, but it has also helped me change the direction of my life,”

Eugene Kongondo, a beneficiary said.

The Generation Kenya Programme integrates technical training in the classroom and at job sites, along with behavioral and mindset skills, which help students prepare overcome both workplace and personal challenges.

Mentorship is available to all students throughout the full-time course to enable even the most vulnerable young people to be successful. Generation Kenya ensures that graduates continue to have access to support and regular follow-up contact for the first months of their employment.

Generation Kenya Programme has the global goal of connecting one million young adults to jobs and skills in five years across five countries—India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain and the United States. Generation Kenya will be recruiting additional classes to start later in the year, with recruitment currently open for the next class having begun in October. The programme is currently funded by USAID and McKinsey & Company.