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KUCCPS data reveals leading cause of youth unemployment

Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) has released data that suggests inadequacy of career guidance as a leading cause of youth unemployment in Kenya.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and Labor Principal Secretary Shadrack Mwadime, during a recent public address, highlighted the urgent need for a revamped career guidance system amidst the country’s escalating youth unemployment crisis.

Machogu emphasised that the absence of proper career guidance is a significant factor contributing to the skills gap seen in the labor market.

He further stressed that the transition rate from secondary education to higher learning institutions stood at a mere 32 percent during the latest placement cycle. He underscored the necessity of comprehensive career counseling, citing that only 30 percent of students transitioned to post-secondary education in recent years, leaving a substantial 70 percent without clear pathways.

“Young people in Kenya face a monumental challenge of employment. Industry reports show that the youth unemployment rate is 67 percent compared to the overall unemployment rate of 12.7 percent in the country. For a country that has pegged its development on the robust energy of its youth, this picture does not inspire hope,” said Machogu during a recent Career Development Association of Kenyan (CDAK) in a speech read on his behalf by Director of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Dr Meshack Opwora.

Labor Principal Secretary Shadrack Mwadime echoed these concerns, urging educational institutions and employment agencies to establish dedicated career service offices. Mwadime emphasized the government’s commitment to developing a robust career guidance framework adaptable to the evolving education and labor market dynamics.

Highlighting the pivotal role of stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, Mwadime stressed their indispensable support in implementing effective career guidance programs. He emphasized the need for innovation and collaboration to address the widening youth unemployment crisis and its multifaceted societal impacts.

The PS stated that the country has been reeling under the youth unemployment crisis.

“The consequences of weak youth unemployment are grave. These include poverty, inequality, dependency, loss of self-esteem, depression, social and political unrest and vulnerability to drug and substance abuse, human trafficking, criminal behavior, radicalization and violent extremism,” he said.

The officials also highlighted the grave consequences of inadequate career guidance, ranging from increased vulnerability to societal issues such as poverty, inequality, mental health concerns, and susceptibility to various vices among the youth. They emphasized the importance of investing in comprehensive career guidance to enhance employability, reduce skill mismatches, and facilitate smoother transitions from education to the workforce.

The call for an overhaul of the country’s career guidance system stands as a pressing initiative to empower the youth, equipping them with the necessary skills and direction to combat rising unemployment levels and shape a more resilient workforce for the nation’s future.