Barclays Premier League legend Robert Pires today joined representatives from International Youth Foundation and members of the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in the launch of a new initiative designed to equip young people with work-readiness and financial skills needed to achieve economic and social independence.
The Kshs. 47.9 million programme dubbed Sport for Kenyan Youth Employment(SKYE) is a partnership between Barclays Bank and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and will benefit over 3,000 youth.
The programme will be implemented by IYF in partnership with MYSA and Arc Skills, and will leverage the love that youth have for football to impart them with market-relevant technical skills to improve their livelihoods and develop financial skills.
“Youth form more than half of Kenya’s population and thanks to technology are currently one of the most influential constituencies in society. As a bank, we recognise this and we are willing to make the necessary investments in order to provide them with the skills they need to unlock their full potential,” said Mr. Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Barclays Bank of Kenya.
“The objective of this project is to address the significant skills mismatch and create a scalable approach that will result in improved lifestyles for thousands of young people,” he added.
SKYE will strengthen the competencies gained through sports participation-leadership, discipline, communication, teamwork, and responsibility chief among them-to enable young people to translate these core competencies into the world of work. About 500 youth aged between 18 and 25 years will receive masonry, plumbing and basic electrical training and will upon completion be awarded apprenticeships by the Housing Finance Foundation at the Komarock Heights construction site. An additional 2,600 youth will receive essential financial skills training such as saving, budgeting and local banking services in line with the newly launched Barclays ReadytoWork programme.
The ReadytoWork program offers certificate courses in a range of people, work, entrepreneurial and money skills and while the programme mainly targets students in tertiary institutions, it is also appropriate for persons of all ages interested in scaling up their skills in any of the four areas. It is targeted for youth aged between 18 and 24.
To qualify for the program, participants are required to have undergone at least eight years of formal education and will be selected from MYSA’s 16 operational zones strictly on merit.
IYF Africa Director Matthew Breman said, “Leveraging young people’s passion for football, SKYE will strengthen the competencies gained through sports participation-leadership, discipline, communication, teamwork, and responsibility chief among them-to enable young people to translate these core competencies into the world of work. These young athletes will receive rigorous work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy training through MYSA, in addition to practical learning experiences led by Arc Skills.”
Attending the launch, former French international and Arsenal legend Robert Pires challenged the youth to take advantage of SKYE and other youth empowerment initiatives to change their lives.
Barclays, through its citizenship arm, has in the past three years invested more than half a billion shillings in strategic programs which have directly impacted 85,000 young Kenyans and indirectly transformed the lives of more than 300,000 lives.