Two hundred youths in Nakuru last Thursday received training on youth entrepreneurship and employment as the world marked the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) day.
The youth drawn from various corners of the county also received training on customer service relations and life skills.
Under the umbrage of the Kenya Government in partnership with the World Bank, the government is implementing the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP) that will run from 2016-2021.
Other implementers of the initiative also include Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA) and the Aayden Consulting Limited.
In the project, KYEOP’s objective is to increase employment and earning opportunities among targeted young people across Kenya. It aims to reach over 280,000 youth during the project period.
According to Nakuru County MSEA Coordinator Kenneth Ruto, the initiative usually receives huge applications and due to limited spacing, participants are usually picked on a haphazard basis.
“For candidates to enroll into the programme they have to apply through our online portal and invariably we receive voluminous of applications. That makes it hard for us to select the best candidates,” Mr Ruto said.
The training, which is in its third session, mainly involves youth between 18 and 29 years of age but sometimes this is extended to 35 years for those who are jobless and have experienced long spells of unemployment or who are currently working in vulnerable jobs.
And for one to enroll into the programme, a minimum qualification of a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is required. The project will reach youth within selected counties in urban and rural areas.
Mr Ruto said that the initiative has so far trained more than 1,000 youths and that the programme will continue into the future.
“Currently, we are in the third phase of the programme. In the first project, we trained 250 youths and in the second one, we trained 400 youths. This time round — in the third project — we have trained 600 youths,” he said.
He adds that after they pick participants into the programme, they select individuals who will receive grants of Sh40, 000 each from the World Bank to start or boost their businesses.
“Thereafter, after we award grants, we also pick few participants from the first and second groups from the large group. For this year, we selected 200 individuals from the combination of the first and second batches which adds up to 650,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, among the 650 individuals, they then select individuals who will be trained in the KYEOP’S Business Development Services (BDS) from the larger group.
During the entire programme, participant’s accommodations, welfares and meals are catered for.