The 11th Karatina University Career Week kicked off on a high note on Thursday, 16th March 2023. Organized by the Directorate of Career Services and University-Industry Linkages, the annual event is aimed at offering students, especially those in their last year of undergraduate studies, an opportunity to interact with industry players and to be guided on market expectations.

Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mucai Muchiri, giving his remarks

In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mucai Muchiri, stated that the University has embedded in its calendar annual career weeks aimed at constantly exposing students to opportunities and requirements of the market.

“The Theme ‘Reshaping the way we meet the future’ is very fitting because it provides an opportunity to share future-ready skills that are critical for growth in the dynamic world. One of the must-have career skills in today’s digital economy is knowledge of basic technology.”

He applauded the Government of Kenya for providing several platforms and a robust internet connectivity across the country to help the youth acquire ICT skills and earn a living. Another ICT-related platform, he mentioned, is the Ajira Digital Programme aimed at addressing youth unemployment.

“I am glad to report that Karatina University recently launched the Ajira Digital Club with the sole purpose of giving our students an opportunity to engage in online work such as article writing, virtual assistantship and transcription. I encourage you to keep taking advantage of these digital spaces to equip yourselves with market-ready business and ICT related skills.”

The Vice Chancellor further stated that the University is not only equipping its students with digital skills but also with entrepreneurial skills.

“The University runs entrepreneurship programmes that assist students to identify business ideas, implement them and monitor their growth. One such programme is the annual Start-Up Expo which introduces students to a platform that allows them to actualize the concept of entrepreneurship.”

He emphasized on the need to continue actualizing the University’s slogan “The Green Entrepreneurial University” citing that the entrepreneurial mindset inculcated in the students is crucial in ensuring that they have a positive mental attitude, creative mindset and intrinsic motivation to impact society.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Julius Muia, former Permanent Secretary in charge of Finance in the National Treasury currently with Maselle Consulting LLP Finance and Policy Experts. Dr. Muia passionately shared his perspective on the future world of work. While emphasizing on the place of entrepreneurship in the future of work, he pointed out that certain supporting conditions need to be in place before this is possible. Some of these are technological advances, growth of the service sector, high financial access, improved infrastructure, internet access/ICT among others.

Chief Guest, Dr. Julius Muia, giving his presentation

He stated that the changing world is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. There are, therefore, particular but major drivers of change in the future of work. These include technological advances and innovations, emerging sectors and thematic areas, special Economic Zones, demographic factors, globalization, work itself and the millennial phenomenon.

Dr. Muia noted that the next generation of employees are the millennials whose disposition is creativity, working with fewer rules and engaging in varied work.

“The future world of work must fully appreciate the characteristics of millenials because education and employment criteria will shift from purely academic-based outcomes to the demonstrable ability to access and use knowledge, acquire, adapt and develop skills and engage with others/globally. This is because millennials value flexibility in working hours and virtual office where a physical office space is not an imperative.”

The audience keenly following the proceedings

He concluded his remarks by stating that the rapid pace of technological advancement is exerting profound changes on the way people live and work. Technology is also impacting all disciplines, economies and industrial production. In the future work, therefore, there will be less interaction with people due to rapid advances in technology and artificial intelligence. This will increase productivity and improve lives, but there will be a trade-off of loss of jobs. Additionally, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics may have a negative impact on work, thus, affecting future work. He stated that all actors will have to be proactive to anticipate these changes and harness them.

“As envisaged in the Vision 2030, Kenya’s potential lies in its people – their creativity, work ethic, education and entrepreneurial and other skills. Therefore, the Government will continue to offer training opportunities for its human resource in order to respond to the fast changing world. Hence the increased focus on ICT and technical skills, for example, TVET programmes.”