Underprivileged girls interested in automotive engineering can now look forward to a bright future thanks to the launch of a partnership that will see 120 young girls sponsored to take a three-year advanced course.
The training which will be jointly sponsored by Plan International, Hyundai Motors-Korea and Salvador Caetano-Kenya will be delivered at the Hyundai Dream Center located at the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Athi River.
The automotive education and training center seeks to encourage more women and girls to join the automotive industry.
The beneficiaries, from some of Kenya’s most marginalized regions such as Turkana, Kwale and Kajiado, range from 18 to 35 years old.
In addition to studying automotive electricity in motor vehicles, the cohort will go on to complete an extensive internship program with Hyundai Motor Company to improve their employability skills.
Through the vocational course, girls will learn both technical and non-technical skills.
Speaking at the launch of the program, Cabinet Secretary of Labor Simon Chelugui said: “I foresee a bright future in our country where interns at this center will be among the most sought-after skilled professionals in the automotive sector. ”
According to Chelugui, the government, through a multisectoral partnership with Hyundai (Caetano-Kenya) and Plan International, will play an important role in ensuring that the country meets its development agenda of promoting quality, relevance and inclusiveness. in education and the development of quality skills. as catalysts for socio-economic development and global competitiveness.
South Korean Ambassador to Kenya Choi Yeonghan said he was encouraged by bilateral relations with the Kenyan government to provide platforms that provide needy young women and men with a socio-economic opportunity to acquire and hone their skills.
“Kenya and Korea share a similar historical background. In Korea, Hyundai Motors plays an important role in the country’s economic growth, ”Yeonghan said.
“Today it is a great honor to be part of this great initiative which aims to improve the livelihoods of young men and women in one of the most equipped automotive training and education centers in Kenya, the Hyundai Dream Center, ”Yeonghan said. .
At the same time, the SC called on young people to take vocational institutional courses to help bridge the unemployment gap in the country.
Chelugui also challenged young people not to depend on white collar jobs but to embrace the technical skills offered in various institutions across the country.
He also challenged parents to make sure their children explore other ways to make a living.
“If we want to drive our economy to success, let’s embrace all technical jobs rather than just waiting for office work,” said the CS.
Chulugui said the government plans to expand Athi River-based NITA to empower more people to benefit from the program.
“We want to see thousands of young people benefit from this particular program. We will expand this facility to accommodate more people, ” the CS said.
Chelugui noted that the automotive sector supports many other sectors of the economy, thus creating a multiplier effect in many economies.
Kenya is one of the developing countries in Africa that experiences high unemployment rates, especially among young people.
According to the 2019 national population and housing census, young people represent 75% of the total population. Youth unemployment is significantly higher, 40% to be precise, than that of the entire working age group.
Created by Hyundai Motors, the Hyundai Dream Center will help stimulate the growth of the local automotive industry using the latest technology. The center creates employment opportunities in the automotive sector for young people from disadvantaged communities.
Plan International’s national director in Kenya, Kate Maina-Vorley, said women and girls need to challenge the perception that courses such as automotive engineering are dominated by men.
“A mismatch between the skills required by the employer and the skills acquired in training institutions has been identified as one of the main causes of unemployment. Kenyan employers are finding more and more graduates, men and women, insufficiently prepared for the job. The industry is also advancing technologically much faster than our educational institutions, ”said Maina-Vorley.
It is estimated that 21% of young women are unemployed compared to 17% of their male counterparts.
Even among the 42% of youth without employment, education and training (NEET), young women are disproportionately represented within the group, significantly higher than men at 14%, confirming more than access to employment and the opportunities to earn a living in the country are divided according to age and gender.
Women, youth and people from low-income households are more likely to be excluded from jobs, especially better quality jobs.
According to Maina-Vorley, women are a driving force in the Kenyan economy and the program will give them the tools to unleash their capacities in a male-dominated industry.
“It should be noted that as much as efforts and initiatives to tackle unemployment, especially among youth, are in place, young women and girls are still the most affected and best prepared for the labor market. work than their male counterparts, ”she said.
The Hyundai Dream Center project is a three-year project funded by Hyundai Motor Company-Korea. The project is implemented in Kenya by a consortium of three partners and led by Plan International Kenya.
The other two members of the consortium are NITA – Athi River and Salvador Caetano Kenya. The Hyundai Dream Center – Kenya is one of the seven dream centers in the world.