Vocational rehabilitation and transition to employment of former street youth in Nairobi, Kenya
Khaemba, Jane Namubuyu
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Despite efforts made by the government of Kenya to rehabilitate and train former street youth, their numbers in towns and cities have risen alarmingly. Reports in the media focus on those who joined the NYS in 2003 but no known study has followed them out to ascertain the effectiveness and appropriateness of the programme which was meant to help them transit to work, since their graduation in 2005. The purpose of this study was to investigate rehabilitation and vocational education with regard to transition to work and job retention of trained former street youth. The objectives were to establish factors influencing transition to work, rehabilitation strategies, placement options and the effectiveness of the training package. The study was guided by Anomie theory. Anomie is a situation that arises when there is discrepancy between goals and means of achieving them. The study was carried out at the NYS headquarters in Nairobi (Ruaraka station), city centre and other parts of the city where trained former street youth and employers were traced. It employed a descriptive design. Two employers, one administrator, one coordinator of skills training and 46(20%) of the former street youth trained at the NYS were involved in the study. Purposive sampling was used in the selection of the institution, trained former street youth, employers, administrator and coordinator.Snow ball sampling was used to reach former street youth who had been scattered. Interview Guides formed the basic research instruments. To collect data, Interview Guides were administered to the former street youth, their employers, administrator, and coordinator by the researcher. Data were recorded by writing. Qualitative data were analyzed by use of the themes and the coding technique. Frequencies and percentages were also utilized in analysis of minimal quantitative data. Narrative passages, tables and charts were used to convey the findings. The findings of this study indicated a number of issues regarding the transition of the trained former street youth to employment. In effect, the findings indicated that the courses offered at the NYS were relevant to the labour market except for a few issues such as denial of choice of courses and inadequate facilities. The findings also indicated that NYS had no arrangements for placement of these graduates upon completion of their course thus encountering difficulties in securing employment In terms of job maintenance, it was found out that beyond the technical skills, one needs some personal skills to maintain the secured employment. In the light of these findings, the study recommended that recruitment be pegged on institutional training facilities' capacity and that the content of training be continually reviewed to tailor it to market needs. Also, the institution needs to explore linkages with the various placements opportunities.