As job markets shrink, graduates will require soft skills

Since 2008, Riara University has been tracking the number of graduates who get absorbed straight into employment and it has averaged 90 percent. 

The University did not conduct the survey during Covid-19 and when they resumed last year, the survey revealed that over the last three years, the absorption rates had fallen to about 76 percent signaling tighter job markets as the economy struggles.

Vice Chancellor Prof Robert Gateru says this is the lowest rate of absorption over the decade and was indicative of the impact of the pandemic and resultant tough economic times over the recent past.

The professor said that as the job market tightens, university students will need more than just a degree certificate to differentiate themselves. 

“Companies do not just hire until they get the right people, not just with the right skills, but with the right attitude and behavior. We have heard of cases where employers get graduates with good grades but they are rude to customers, they come in late or just do not show up,” Prof Gateru said.

Riara University has partnered with E-learning Solutions Apprenticeship Training (ELSAT) program in a personal development training program to help graduates acquire the soft skills required to get employed and keep a job, or start a sustainable business.

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ELSAT Chief Executive Officer Esther Gacicio said the interactive online programme helps young adults, who are in the final year of their technical training in tertiary institutions or those who have freshly graduated in preparing for the world of work.

The programme takes the young workforce through self-discovery to identify their passions, have a clear vision and map out personal goals. 

The youth are also taken through the life cycle of businesses, how to manage their expectations in terms of getting returns, interpersonal relationships behind building teamwork and how to behave in a job environment as well as financial literacy, leadership training and how to make sound decisions. 

Mrs Gacicio said the training also equips the youth with lessons on citizenship, their role in society as well as health with a focus on counselling and mental health. 

The partnership will make Riara the hub for offering the soft skill courses targeting the students within the institution but with a view of leveraging the online platform to scale.

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