By Shadrack Nyakoe
The Soaring Eagles Scholarship Program (SESP) by Optiven foundation has opened opportunities to support more needy students joining Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).
The program was launched on Thursday at Labbura Secondary School – Kieni Sub County in Nyeri.
Speaking during the interview with the media, Optiven foundation chairman George Wachiuri said that the development of the TVET Sponsorship Program aims at increasing youth employability and inspiring possibilities in society.
Wachiuri said that Optiven Foundation has numerously supported initiatives to advance education for needy students, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods for senior citizens, provision of food in marginalized counties, and promote health.
The increment of enrolled students to tvet institutions from 55,000 in 2013 to over 288,000 currently is testimony that Kenya is ready to reap the benefits of technical training.
The Optiven Foundation together with its partners, are keen to realize sustainable development goal 4 on quality education to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Wachiuri said, “we are starting the tvet engagement programme in laburra, kieni county and are keen to expand to support students all over the country to attain technical skills training.
“Kenya is a very youthful country. Data shows that 80% of Kenya’s population is below 35 years. We however have 97 % of youth who aren’t employed and skilled and by impacting them in TVET institution will transform their lives and make them more responsible, ‘he said.
He noted that the empowerment program will go hand in hand with other projects that the company operates to elevate and empower society.
The initiative came at a time analysis by the Higher Education Loans Board shows that employability is at 96 percent for people with technical and vocational education and training, compared to 40 percent for those with university degrees.
Wachiuri said that the TVET institutions that will be selected to offer the skills will be expected to offer the best practice in skills training, effectively addressing emerging skill gaps, aligning training with industry needs, and engaging industry, government, and corporate for a holistic skills ecosystem.
“We will ensure that we have put in place a sustainable infrastructure for youth training, improve instructor training capacities, access to training opportunities in employable areas, institutional capacities and finally increase transition to employment. We aim to support quality participation in TVET,” he said.
He said that they intend to mentor the students they sponsor, monitor their performance, and embrace them in their systems, thus reducing unemployment in the nation.
He said that Optiven will not spare any resources as long as they will empower and transform the Society.
Optiven Foundation has sponsored more than 50 students through primary and secondary education while else they have visited multiple children’s homes, built homes for the elderly, and donated wheelchairs to the needy.
About a month ago, the Foundation rescued Aaron Wambua had an unsuccessful surgery after he was involved in an accident. He was provided with a brand new wheelchair to enhance his movement.
The foundation works through donations and volunteer work.
Moreover, the Optiven Foundation will offer support towards tvet training in an all round plan that will seek to be all-inclusive to impact individuals with skills in areas such as sports, music, and games.