The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has announced a partnership with Absa Bank Kenya to empower one million young Kenyans with digital job opportunities through their respective youth programs, Ajira Digital and Ready-to-Work.
The bank will provide work-readiness skills training through its existing Ready-to-Work program, while leveraging KEPSA’s network to build linkages and alliances that will enable enterprises to outsource work, so improving the impact of their ongoing young people’s placement programs. This collaboration aims to improve the government’s skilling and youth empowerment programs in order to address the high rate of youth unemployment and inability to find work.
Speaking at the announcement ceremony, KEPSA’s Chief Executive Officer Ms. Carole Kariuki noted that with least one million young Kenyans entering the job market each year, the economy has not been able to provide the required number of employment opportunities to sustain the high entrants witnessed. With such alarming statistics, it is therefore within the mandate of the private sector that provides around 90 per cent of employment, for both formal and informal jobs to support with interventions that will address this ‘youth burden’ before it gets out of hand.
It is for this reason, consequently, that KEPSA through her social arm KEPSA Foundation and with the partnership of over 1,000,000 businesses from all sectors of the economy are working to equip the Kenyan youth with skills, work opportunities and also to provide the industry with a pool of skilled workers to drive the growth and competitiveness of our economy.
“This partnership provides an opportunity where youth from our ongoing interventions like the Ajira Digital project can access the much-needed employability skills as well as open up job linkage opportunities. We hope that through our various engagements and activities that we will be conducted in line with this partnership we can unlock thousands of jobs to young people in the creative industry as influencers and content creators,” said Kariuki.
Absa’s Managing Director Jeremy Awori reiterated the bank’s commitment to supporting Kenyan youth through the partnership with the Ajira Digital Program.
“The partnership with KEPSA through the Ajira Program that we are launching today is in line with our ongoing efforts in this critical area of youth empowerment. We hope to establish digital and technologically enabled job opportunities through this agreement, with the goal of connecting one million competent youth to these opportunities.”
Since inception, Absa’s Ready-To-Work initiative has impacted over 200,000 youth in the country to date and with a target of reaching one million by 2023. The programme, launched in 2015, provides a platform to engage Kenyan youth and help them materialize their careers through skills training and mentoring platforms from industry and marketplace experts.
“Youth empowerment, we believe, is a catalyst for positive social change in our communities and a tool that brings to light the potential that exists in every one of us. Hence, why education and skills are one of the strategic pillars of our Corporate Citizenship Strategy,” added Awori.
Under its Citizenship Agenda, Absa has also partnered with the Higher Education and Loans Board (HELB) to provide scholarship opportunities for over 500 disadvantaged students in 56 local universities.