Over 300 young students with disabilities will be among students who benefit in a new Sh8 million programme that focuses on building employability capacity in the country.
Dubbed ‘FutureMakers EmployAbility’, the one-year programme by Standard Chartered Bank Kenya will also focus on preparing over 4,000 abled University students across 5 tertiary institutions in the country for the job market.
The tertiary institutions being piloted in the programme are Kenyatta University, USIU, JKUAT, Zetech University and Multi-Media University.
The programme is in partnership with Light for the World’s InBusiness Initiative and seeks to help bridge the gap between young graduates and the work environment through a series of work readiness and technical training schemes.
The Bank’s CEO, Kariuki Ngari said the inclusion of students with disabilities is intended to identify their barriers to inclusion in core courses within the piloted Universities.
He added that the initiative was necessitated by the ever-changing work environment that often demands social and practical skills from young graduates.
“We live in a highly competitive and dynamic world where the work skills required are continuously shifting and the youth are finding it difficult to match what they learn in the classroom with what is needed in the job market. As such, this programme intends to prepare our university graduates through initiatives such as relationships and people management skills, financial literacy and money management, mapping out employment opportunities as well as trends in employment space.” Kariuki said.
Stephen Njenga, Country Director Light for the World on his part said; "we recognize the need for impactful partnerships and remain committed to playing our role in advancing the growth of our communities and people. The partnership will ensure that we build employability skills, and boost linkages between universities and the private sector which can allow future engagements for internships, practicums, job shadowing or even recruitment.”
“Through such collaborations, we aim to foster inclusivity in higher learning institutions, and attract more players to take a bigger role to support this sector to onboard more students with disabilities especially in STEM courses,” Njenga added.
With the realization of the serious shortfall in the relevant skills gap, the programme will also aim at delivering career days in the five institutions with companies and organizations called upon to mentor and share their process of recruitment with the students.
Additionally, Standard Chartered Bank will engage 30 medium and large companies/employers in the programme to train 50 managers and coaches on how to effectively work with students with disabilities - a step towards cultivating inclusive organizations.
The FutureMakers EmployAbility Programme goes in tandem with the Bank’s continuous investment and support to the youth, which is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic that has paralysed learning for the last seven months.
Standard Chartered Bank is currently providing more than 3,500 girls and young women with education and life skills training and has also invested Sh15 million to training and growing SME women-led businesses.