President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday said the Government has repositioned the National Youth Service (NYS) as a key pillar of its strategy for enabling the youth to contribute more effectively to nation-building.
The President noted that since 2013 more than 114,568 servicemen and women have been involved in programmes of national interest with positive impacts on the country’s socio-economic development.
“For instance, under the Youth Empowerment Programme, we were able to grade a total of 557 Kilometers of rural access roads to murram standard in various parts of the country; drilled 68 boreholes and constructed 197 water dams and 217 water pans; and constructed 96 ablution blocks, 3 social halls, 7 model housing blocks, 7 clinics, and 8 police posts in various informal settlements in Nairobi.
“The Service has also established 696 youth savings and credit societies from which the youth are accessing affordable credit to start micro and small enterprises,” he said.
The Head of State spoke at the NYS Training College in Gilgil, Nakuru County, where he presided over the passing-out parade of 9,464 NYS recruits comprising 6773 servicemen and 2691 service women including 45 persons living with disability.
Further, President said the NYS also took part in the revitalization of the meter-gauge railway line across the country, control of the desert locust in 13 counties and planting of over one million tree seedlings towards the attainment of 10% national tree cover.
He pointed out that the transformation of NYS has led to other achievements including an increase in the annual youth enlistment from 4,000 in 2013 to 30,000 at present, resulting in 118,189 youths being recruited from all sub-counties across the country.
“This number is comparable to the number of youths the Service had recruited between 1964 and 2012, the year immediately preceding my administration.
“This meteoric rise in the number of recruits joining NYS coupled with the enhanced standards of training introduced, have been critical in safeguarding the socio-economic interests of the Kenyan youth as contained in our development blueprints,” President Kenyatta said.
The President added that institutional reforms have also expanded opportunities for thousands of young people, most of whom would not have had the resources to acquire the skills and training offered at NYS.
At the same time, President Kenyatta said the Government has scaled up the absorption of NYS graduates into the disciplined services as well as other public and private agencies.
In the current financial year, President Kenyatta said his administration has secured 2,649 job placements for NYS graduates.
“Of these, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the National Police Service (NPS) have recruited 500 each, Kenya Prisons Services has absorbed 61 while the Kenya Airports Authority has concluded interviews for 200 whom they intend to employ while the NYS itself has absorbed 700,” the President said.
He urged other employers in the country to take advantage of the reservoir of well-trained and disciplined NYS graduates and accord them preference in employment.
He expressed satisfaction that the information management tracking system he launched at the college last year has been instrumental in tracking servicemen and women from the time of recruitment to admission into the paramilitary training, deployment to national service, enrolment in technical and vocational training to job placement.
“I am pleased to note that this system has made it easier for the Service to process requests from potential employers whenever there are job openings,” President Kenyatta added.
To reposition NYS training institutions as centres of excellence that prepare graduates for the demands of a future where the digital economy will take centre stage, he said courses like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing and nano technologies must be incorporated into the curriculum.
“However, this must not compromise on the excellence in NYS’s traditional areas of strength,” President Kenyatta said.
Congratulating the graduands, the President advised them to use their training, skills, practices, attitudes and values to forge a brighter future for themselves, their families, their communities and the nation.
In her remarks, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs CS Prof. Margaret Kobia said under the guidance of President Kenyatta, NYS has made a huge contribution to the country’s socio-economic.
“Your Excellency Sir, since assuming office in 2013 and under your guidance, NYS has made notable contributions spread across the nation and beyond. We have no doubt, you will leave NYS stronger than you found it,” said CS Kobia
NYS Director-General Matilda Sakwa and College Commandant Nicholas Makhoha also spoke at the passing-out parade attended by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai among other senior Government officials.