A garage in the outskirts of Bungoma town in Western Kenya is a beehive of activity. Workers go about their business - assembling stuff, oiling engine parts, fixing tires; and so on.
Thirty three year old Rose Luturian is among them. She was sponsored by K-YES Program at the facility for a three-month competency based training and was later offered a job thanks to her exemplary performance.
“The Program has contributed a great deal in achieving my lifelong.” She reveals.
Despite dropping out of school and focusing on her role as a housewife; she opted for the training - a move that baffled her family and friends.
“They could not understand why I was going back to class to pursue a mechanical course they thought was a preserve for the male gender.” She recollects. “They believed I was crazy.”
Her passion and feedback from clients later won their respect. Word spread faster in the community ‘of a lady mechanic excelling in a field dominated by men.’
Her progress is part of the Program’s Behavior Change Communications Strategy that seeks to demystify negative perceptions towards vocational training and blue collar jobs. The Program has empowered her to take advantage of her new found stature to motivate and inspire others.
“As a result of her passion in the trade, our facility has seen 70% overall increase in enrollment and 80% rise of potential students of female gender seeking to pursue mechanics course.” Notes David Masinde her mentor and garage instructor.
Program interventions have seen nearly 62,000 youth across the country access training to improve employment skills and over 32,000 access new or better jobs.
“Using savings made from my earnings; I intend to open my own garage one day.” She reveals.
Investment in vocational training and jobs is bound to help curb youth unemployment rate that stands at 26%. It is also bound to help that country achieve the socio-economic blue print of becoming a global competitive nation by 2020.
Apart from vocational training, the Program also empowers youth through financial inclusion trainings; drills on entrepreneurships; convening career counselling and placement stints with trainees; and striking partnerships with relevant entities to enhance collaborative support, learning and sustainability.