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MMUST Takes Experiential Learning and Mentorship a Notch Higher Through Its Career Fair as Students Are Trained to Tackle the Shrinking Job Market Using Technology

Dr. Teresa Okoth with students at the School of Arts and Social sciences stand.

MMUST has taken experiential learning and mentorship a notch higher as it trains students to tackle the shrinking job market using technology. This was exhibited during the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology’s career fair, 2023, which took place at the University grounds. The three-day event themed 'Embracing Technological Knowledge and Skills towards a Self-Reliant Dynamic World', began on 16th February, 2023 and officially ended on Saturday, 18th February, 2023.

The aim of the career fair was to provide networking opportunities for both high school and University students, give them guidance in their career paths and meet potential employers who gave them an opportunity to inquire on job opportunities and learn about company expectations.

In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo welcomed the participants to MMUST, assuring them that this is the place to be. Giving a brief history of MMUST from the then Western College (WECO), a college of Arts and Applied Sciences Prof. Shibairo noted that the country still lacks technical skills. He encouraged students to embrace the TVET programmes, noting that they are grounded on responding to emerging market demands besides having the potential to improve the employability and productivity of the young generation.

“We live in a time that calls for speedy technological development and creativity. As a University, we have embarked on experiential learning, mentorships and organizing for career fairs such as this where we bring on board diverse industry players to assist in mentoring you in different areas. Additionally, we will continue to review our curricular to strengthen technical skills in your learning,” said Prof. Shibairo.

Dr. Teresa Okoth with students2

School of Computing and Informatics representative engaging students during the career fair.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics and Student affairs, Prof. Hussein Golicha applauded the students for attending the forum, saying that it is a great way for them to explore their career options and assist them to develop the required employability skills.

Speaking during the launch of the event, the Director, Career Services, Dr. Teresa Okoth highlighted the need to empower students for lifelong career development needed for a dynamic society.  Dr. Okoth introduced the participating institutions and encouraged the students to keep an open mind through the discussions.

MMUST’s Marketing Officer, Mr. James Muriithi discussed the programmes offered in the University, inviting the students present at the career to visit the Customer Care and Call Centre for a more personalized guidance after the release of their KCSE results. Additionally, he briefed the students about the scholarship opportunities available in the University, stating that MMUST is the place to be.

 “We accept and admit all grades from form four except (E), in various categories. In the event that you encounter challenges deciding a course to pursue, come to us. We will take you through our courses and help you decide on one that will build your careers,” said Mr. Muriithi.

students participate in mmust career2

MMUST researcher, Dr. Mario Kollenberg together with his team showcase yoghurt, cheese and other products produced at MMUST.

In her address, the Chief Officer Public Service Commission-Kakamega County, CPRH Dorine Otipa emphasized the need to strengthen technical skills training in youths as a way of tackling the high unemployment rates. Ms. Otipa noted that the tech-world is the only place that has space for everyone, adding that equipping youths with technological skills will result in more people venturing in entrepreneurship hence developing self-reliant youth in this dynamic world.

“Many of you are out here looking for jobs which are not available. The market has shrunk, but we can expand it by ensuring that we explore the talents we have to be able to fit into the market,” said Ms. Otipa. Quoting the famous Jack Ma, who said ‘Your employee should have superior technical skills than you. If he doesn’t it means you have hired the wrong person’, Ms. Otipa stressed that employers can only hire an individual if there is something they will give to employers in return.

“Keep your continuous focus on building technical expertise and on acquiring technical leadership skills. Do not limit yourself to your careers, aim higher and keep abreast with the new advances in technology,” she advised.

Representing the Director General NITA, Ms. Mary Mahoho acknowledged that it is the desire of every child to join the University but that is usually not the case. She encouraged the students to consider industrial training in the event they do not gain entry into the Universities. She revealed that individuals who have gone through NITA have been successful in securing jobs, encouraging even those in Universities to take up side courses.

students participate in mmust career

Students participate in the MMUST career fair activities.

Dr. Rose Opiyo, a counselling psychologist, from MMUST, urged parents to support their children in developing their talents and encourage them to pursue their passion, saying that talents can make individuals successful in life.  She reminded the students of the need to live a holistic life. She was among the renowned scholars from within and outside the University who had interactive sessions with students across different faculties.

“We all desire to be people of substance in life. It is important that you build your soft skills such as communication, problem-solving skills, relational skills, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking, and time management which have become more relevant in today’s society. As you build on these skills, ensure that you understand your personality, passion, interest and talent so that you can confidently identify and pursue your life-long careers,” noted Dr. Opiyo.

It is worth noting that the event was well attended by notable industry representatives, including, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), Media Council of Kenya, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) as well as the County Government of Kakamega. The representatives from the various institutions made interesting presentations and encouraged the students not to shy off from approaching them. The mentors confirmed that indeed career fairs offer an opportunity for the learners and industry partners to establish long term mutually beneficial partnerships, exposing students to challenges of the productive work environment. Such events secure career guidance for students in addition to enabling them to understand the 21st century job skill requirements.

school of engineering demostrating

School of Engineering and Built Environment demonstrate to students what they do

Over thirty (30) secondary schools from western region took part in the event. Other notable persons present were Mr. Paul Okaya and his team from Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Dr. Mwangi Njuguna, a career advisor and lecturer from Kenyatta University and Ms. Neville Lukaya from KUCCPS.

Technical skills development is expected to play the central role as economies move towards creating new jobs in different domains. Without opportunities to build the right skills, youths will always struggle to find employment and risk being left behind. By stepping up efforts to counter this, MMUST is undoubtedly headed in the right direction. 

By Caren Nekesa 

Photos by Mary Wangari Wambugu

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