• The first group of 25 students arrived in Finland two days ago for degree studies in nursing.
• Tolgos negotiated the partnership with the city of Tempere. The students will be trained at the University School of Applied Sciences. After graduation, they will be offered jobs.
Several hundred Elgeyo Marakwet students will receive nursing training and job opportunities in a five-year partnership with Finland.
The first group of 25 students benefitting from the initiative arrived in Finland two days ago for degree studies in nursing.
Governor Alex Tolgos negotiated with the city of Tempere. Students will be trained at University School of Applied Sciences, the third largest university in Finland.
“We are happy this partnership has taken off so well and over the years it will benefit many of our youth who will get training and job opportunities while out there," Tolgos said.
He addressed the farewell ceremony in Iten town, which was presided over by Bishop David Kipsoi and interfaith preachers.
Yusuf Kaitany, a member of the county Education board, said airlifting the students was a remarkable achievement of Tolgos' administration.
"This is the equivalent of Tom Mboya's student airlift programme in the 1960s. It is a significant milestone that will help many more residents of our county," Kaitany said.
He urged students to adopt high moral standards while abroad and maintain the dignity of their motherland and their county.
Deputy Governor Wesley Rotich said the county government had to re-advertise the opportunities more than twice after young people failed to take interest.
"This is because our political detractors peddled lies that it was a scam. They can now witness the reality," Rotich said.
He encouraged the students to be goodwill ambassadors and not to engage in any form of irresponsibility.
Tolgos said the objective of the programme was to not only to train but also to explore employment opportunities abroad.
"I appreciate the parents and guardians of these students because they took a leap of faith and embraced the partnership when others were criticising it through social media," Governor Tolgos said.
The governor urged students not to forget their parents once they secure work in Finland, since their parents had sacrificed to guarantee them a bright future.
"Some of these parents have not even boarded a flight, leave alone entered Eldoret Airport, but they have sacrificed so much for you," Tolgos told the students.
Student Festus Maiyo from Kipsoen, Keiyo North, said the programme had opened an opportunity for him and his colleagues to explore opportunities overseas.
"This is a dream come true. I have always wanted to be a nurse and I am happy for the opportunity," he said.
The partnership will run for five years during which more students will travel to Finland. The city of Tempere will host the students and offer jobs after training.
(Edited by V. Graham)