Lodwar, 4th May, 2021 (By Governor’s Press Service)– An international development organization is conducting a study of the regional labour market to identify opportunities that exist for women and youth within the Big Four Agenda sectors.

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) has partnered with the Colleges and Institutes-Canada (CICan) and the Mastercard Foundation to implement a five-year programme aimed at developing capacity of 26 centres of excellence as model TVET institutions, by determining gaps in the labour market to develop market-relevant skills training programme.

In a meeting with the Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei, representatives of MEDA said the rapid scans will help establish areas where demand for specific skills were high, to inform employment opportunities for youth and women.

DCS Loyelei said the County Government was committed to supporting private sector development to create employment opportunities for the youth in a bid to tackle the high rate of youth unemployment. He advised the group to focus on three sectors with huge economic potential in Turkana- livestock, fisheries and irrigation agriculture.

Additionally, he said the tourism sector of the county possessed a great potential and required skilled workforce to develop it. He added that establishment of infrastructure was the key to sustainable tourism.

The DCS proposed development of a TVET programme with incentives for the youth, to increase enrolment into the centres. He encouraged the team to partner with other organisations working in the sector, such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Lincoln Mbogo of MEDA revealed that the group was to focus on construction and tourism and hospitality sectors in their study, but agreed to widen its scope to include livestock production, fisheries and agriculture.

He informed the DCS that the partner organisations were implementing the ‘Young Africa Works-Kenya: Youth Employability through TVET Programme in Kenya’ aimed at increasing enrollment of youth and women in relevant skills training programmes.

County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun emphasized on need for a mindset change among the youth about agriculture to build the next generation of entrepreneurs in the sector in Turkana.

Education, Sports and Social Protection Chief Officer Pauline Lokuruka said her department was working with MCAs to increase bursary allocation to trainees in TVETs within Turkana, in a bid to support further growth of the institutions. She insisted on need to break cultural barriers which prevented more youth from enrolling in courses within the hospitality industry.

Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo agreed that the study will build data which will be used to communicate with the youth on the opportunities existing within particular sectors, to encourage private sector involvement where employment opportunities still exist.