Youths in Coast region need to take education serious if they are to become attractive and competitive in jobs emerging out of the Blue Economy sector.
Maritime and Shipping Affairs PS Nancy Karigithu and her Vocational and Technical Training counterpart Kevit Desai on Friday said many youths at the Coast could miss out on opportunities in the maritime sector because they cannot express themselves in English.
“The other day in Mombasa, we saw highly skilled youth who could not express themselves in English thus failing interviews. We need to learn proper English and not WhatsApp English,” said Karigithu.
The two were speaking at the Swahili Pot on the sidelines of Innovation Week round table meeting for maritime industry stakeholder meeting which concluded over the weekend.
International Transport Federation (ITF) Port Inspector, Ms Betty Makena said lack of basic computer skills is also disadvantaging Coast youth.
“It was quiet embarrassing seeing youth answering only two questions out of 50 because they could not operate a computer. A whole maritime engineer could not open their own email,” said Makena.
PS Desai said it is due to such challenges that the government has dedicated Sh1.2 billion to fund the establishment of centres of excellence across the country.
Desai said at least one such centre of excellence will be established in each of the 290 constituencies through the CDF.
“So that we may be able to meet the shortfall in terms of training and skills development,” said the PS.
Maritime expert, Juma Tellah challenged leaders in the region to support youth keen on taking up jobs in the maritime sector.
He said that some landlocked counties had already taken advantage of the Blue Economy pontential and offered to support youth train locally and overseas for maritime jobs.
Mombasa youth mentor Mahmoud Noor said youth at the Coast need to take education very serious.
“Specifically in Mombasa and the Coast region, we have one of the highest rates of unemployment due to low levels of education,” said Noor.
He however said with guidance and new initiatives introduced by the government, this should change if the youth take advantage.
“I am sure we will be able to unlock the potential and I am sure within a couple of years we will be somewhere,” said Noor.
Karigithu said with the blue economy, Kenyans do not only compete with one another for job opportunities but also with other countries like Philippines, Malaysia, among others.
“In the maritime industry, English is the official language,” said the PS.
She warned politicians against misleading youth that there are job opportunities in the maritime sector that only need a medical test as a requirement.
“The maritime sector is the most hands on sector in the world. You need both the theoretical and practical skills,” said Karigithu.
Also in attendance was the British High Commission Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Suzzie Kitchens who commended Kenya for having successfully hosted the first ever Blue Economy Sustainable Conference in the World.