President Uhuru Kenyatta has unveiled an ambitious plan that will guarantee at least 100,000 new jobs for youth every year.
The graduate internship programme, or paid apprenticeships, will see all graduates from universities and technical institutes absorbed by government and the private sector for a period of 12 to 18 months.
Kenyan universities produce about 50,000 graduates annually with Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and national polytechnics graduating a similar number. The internship programme will significantly boost the President’s current one million jobs a year agenda.
President Kenyatta, speaking on a campaign blitz in the vote-rich Meru County, said the internship programme was at the heart of the Jubilee manifesto for 2017, due to be unveiled in Nairobi on Monday.
In addition to the huge investments the Government has made in various sectors of the economy to lift the lives of Kenyans, President Kenyatta spoke of the Internships as part of his direct further steps to empower the youth.
“Beginning next Year University, polytechnic and technical training institute students will be offered a one to one-and-a-half-year paid internship,” the President said.
This is one of the programs that will expand opportunities for the young people in addition to our ongoing youth empowerment initiatives,” said President Kenyatta.
Government will fund part of the programme directly or through tax breaks and other measures in a programme to be implemented in close collaboration with the private sector.
The government has already got buy-in for the programme from business following a meeting with the umbrella Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) this month.
President Kenyatta said the transformative internships would enable graduates to sharpen the skills they learnt in college as they prepare to either enter the world of employment or venture into business.
“This will also end the story of youth being denied jobs on account of lack of experience,” the President said.
During his State visit to Germany last year, the President studied closely an internships programme there that is fully supported by the German private sector and senior officials have since been to Germany and other countries to benchmark the best model for Kenya.
The government is already talking up its other youth jobs initiative known as “Ajira”, which looks to take up around a million jobs available to Kenyans online. Already 50,000 youth have signed up and are being trained and made aware of opportunities available to them. Kenya has the fastest Internet speeds in Africa.