• More than 200 Elgeyo Marakwet students have benefited from training as nurses and in applied sciences.
• They can also work while they study and get jobs afterwards. Students praised as disciplined and hardworking.
More Elgeyo Marakwet students will be training in Finland as the European country needs workers and Kenyans need jobs.
Governor Wesley Rotich has signed a new MoU with Finland to extend a training programme.
So far more than 200 students have been offered study and work opportunities in Finland.
Other students from Rift Valley counties, such as Uasin Gishu, also study in Finland.
"The purpose is to seek as many opportunities as possible for our youth so they can get training and job opportunities outside the country," Rotich said.
He hosted officials from Finland's Metropolia University, the largest university of applied sciences in the country. They discussed many study and job opportunities in Finland.
University officials included Jon Markus Holm, Harri Suominen, Anna Vekka and Linervo Jarkko who were led by their Kenyan liaison Eunice Sugut.
Rotich told the delegation he had initiated the PEPEA (airlift) programme to seek opportunities abroad for youth.
He said he has established an office to be headed by a director to explore opportunities and forge linkages.
Governor Rotich requested the Finnish team to continue subsidising fees to enable as many young people to study as they cannot afford fees.
He said they would discuss widening the course portfolio.
“We also have Vocational Training Centres here and we can explore the idea of twinning our higher education institutions with the local VTCs for learning exchange programmes,” he said.
At the meeting, partnership specialist Vekka said Elgeyo Marakwet was the pioneer county in sending students to study in Finland. She said the students have shown remarkable hard work, focus and discipline.
“In addition, we have given your students work placements to link them to industry and they are allowed to work 30 hours using their student visa."
She said the delegation was in the county to arrange for more students to learn at Finnish universities she called the best in the world.
Suominen said universities had offered students a 20 per cent subsidy of tuition fees.
Rotich said the county would inform residents of all the opportunities available to them in Finland. He thanked the Finnish Embassy in Kenya for fast processing of visas for the students.
Present during the meeting were Deputy Governor Professor Grace Cheserek, county secretary Paul Chemmuttut and other staff.
In May, Vekka said, “We (Finland) lack young people and young talent who can take the place of retiring citizens.
“In Kenya, it’s exactly the opposite — The younger generation is as big as 70 per cent of all the people. Kenyan youth have so much potential. They are hardworking and motivated but there are not enough jobs available.”
(Edited by V. Graham)