Former Nigeria football international Jay Jay Okocha has urged students to make good use of money skills they learn under the Ready to Work Programme by Barclays Bank Kenya even as they prepare to join the highly competitive business and job market
Okocha was addressing a section of over 90,000 university student who are taking different online courses under the Ready to Work programme that has four pillars-Work, people, money and entrepreneurial skills
‘Acquiring and utilization of financial management skills is the beginning of future financial freedom. Employ those skills in your daily lives-that is what has kept me going throughout my career and even in my retirement’
Under the money skill module, students get necessary financial skills needed to manage their money and how to effectively borrow for investments.
Perhaps the most exciting topic under this module is budget making, this considering that most students impulsively spend few money they make.
It is no wonder that exotic brands in the clothing, food and other leisure products are scrambling to open in malls near universities in Kenya.
In a span of five years, at least five malls – Juja city, Garden City , Kenyatta University, Ananas and Thika Road Mall have opened along the Thika Super Highway, targeting students from nearby institutions like Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Mount Kenya University.
The topic therefore not only provide students with necessary criteria on how to budget their money but go further to give them insight on how to make sure that their budgets help them realize their financial goals.
Besides developing technology that promotes inclusive banking models in order to increase access to financial services to the undeserved, the Ready to Work programme under the money skill module allow students to learn important credit information, that help them manage credit effectively.
The high default rate in the government’s loan to university students betrays less or no credit management skills among graduates in Kenya.
In 2013 for instance, the Higher Education Loan Board (HELB) was forced to blacklist at least 68,000 students for defaulting on their loan repayments and forwarded their names to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).
Students were also privileged to learn personal branding tips from life coach and motivational speaker Wale Akinyemi who taught them how to to package themselves for the job market and business, insisting that networking, grooming and self confidence are key ingredients to success
‘’If students know how to save or make a penny while in college, then they could make substantial savings,’’ said Akinyemi.
He however lamented that most students end up wasting or mismanaging their funds, becoming nuisance to their friends and relatives.
Last year, the government gave out almost Sh10 billion to the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb), with each government sponsored student getting at least Sh60, 000
Barclays Bank Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori said that they are delighted that over 90,000 students are already using the Ready to Work platform, promising to continue building partnerships with universities and training institutions to grow this number even further in the coming years.
He explained that the programme is in line with the bank’s global citizenship strategy which aims to provide young people access to the skills and opportunities they need to find employment or venture into business.
The programme came on the backdrop of a report that was conducted by the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) which showed that graduates in Kenya takes a average of 5 years to get their first jobs, an aspect attributed to lack of soft skills like networking, presentation and grooming
Another study conducted by the Commission for Higher Education revealed that more than 50,000 students graduate annually from private and public universities in Kenya. Only half of them are suitable for employment.
A part from Strathmore and University of Nairobi, Barclays is partnering with other five organizations in the country to promote the youth empowerment under the Ready to Work
These include Shining Hopes for Communities (SHOFCO), Junior Achievement, Care Kenya, Technoserve and International Youth Foundation (IYF)