Executive Office of the Deputy President of Republic of Kenya

Graduands at the graduation of 4,299 students of JKUAT and PAUSTI on June 23,2023. He asked the Graduands to innovate to create jobs for themselves and others. PHOTO/DPCS.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Friday urged university graduates to venture in entrepreneurship to sustain their livelihoods even as the government continues to roll out job creation programs.

Mr Gachagua also challenged higher learning institutions to focus on market oriented courses that are relevant to Kenyan economic needs because white collar jobs have been shrinking annually.

Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kiambu county during a graduation ceremony of 4,299 students, the Deputy President said the Government is preparing the ground especially in developing the digital economy. 

“We are laying the infrastructure and the learning institutions must provide the requisite skills for the youth to become truly global workers even from the comfort of their village. Technology is here to shrink the global office into our palms. we can only harness if we prepare students, not for passing examinations, but solving challenges for inclusive growth. This is through enhancing the capacity of the students in analytical thinking and creative skills,” said Mr Gachagua.

Asking the graduands to venture in business, the Deputy President said there are many opportunities in entreprenuership. He asked the graduands to be focused, avoid naysayers and use the skills acquired in school to better their lives.

“Be focused and a go getter and let nobody discourage you. Do not listen to naysayers, prophets of Dom and people who are jealous. Decide what you in life and go for it. There is beauty in nurturing an idea and seeing it grow to fruitation,” said Mr Gachagua.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during the graduation ceremony of 2023 JKUAT and PAUSTI class on the 40th and 9th, respectively, on June 23, 2023. He challenged the graduating class and institutions of higher learning to take up research and innovation seriously and towards the creation of employment and alleviating poverty. PHOTO/DPCS

He added that the upcoming housing program will create jobs to various professionals in the construction industry as the government is committed to address the rising unemployment cases.

The housing program is two-pronged; offering decent homes and generating employment.

“The National Assembly, for two nights, passed the Finance Bill 2023 to crate housing fund to construct 200,000 houses annually. There will architects, quantity surveyors, building engineers, electricians, plumbers among others and there will be an opportunity to earn a living. Universities are the main beneficiaries,” he said.

In his speech, the Deputy President said there is need to further evaluate the impact of the programmes that universities are offering beyond the prestigious courses.

“It is no secret that white collar jobs are shrinking annually. With an unemployment rate of over 60 per cent, graduates are not ripe to create jobs for themselves. Studies have shown that over 80 per cent of retirees are back to job searching. With knowledge but almost no experience, fresh graduates cannot favourably compete,” said Mr Gachagua. 

He stated that the government has increased intakes for Government-sponsored internships for firsthand skills to the graduates.

To address unemployment in future, he said the government is also deploying resources to the implementation of the Competence Based curriculum for self-employability skills.

“Tertiary institutions must also adjust and adopt their model of education to not only meet the demands of the new system, but also support job creation market. Tertiary Education can no longer be about graduation numbers or the prestige of their degrees, but the overall impact of their products- their students,” he stated. 

“That is why there is an urgent need to reexamine the existing syllabi for retooling and re-alignment to meet todays needs. That is who tertial education will lay the foundation and create resilient communities in our race to attaining sustainable development,” he continued.

He further noted that institutions of higher learning are central in the nation’s development through research, technology, knowledge generation and transfer.

The Deputy President was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Ezekiel Machogu (Ministry of Education) and Moses Kuria (Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry).

Also present were senators Karungo Thang’wa (Kiambu) and John Methu (Nyandarua).