McKinsey's Generation records tremendous success in Kenya

22 January 2018 3 min. read

Standing on the threshold of having the largest working-age population in the world, skill-development is one of the top priorities on the African continent to ensure that its potential is realised. The success of programs such as McKinsey’s Generation in Kenya represent promising indicators for the future of the continent. 

Africa is home to one of the youngest populations in the world, with a median age of 14.8 across the continent. However, as the youth enters the working age, the continent continues to face the challenge of insufficient education, and a consequent lack of basic work-skills. The necessity for a productive workforce has been further accentuated in recent times as plummeting commodity prices have sent the economy into a slowdown.

Among the countries that are expected to dig Africa out of its current slump, particularly in the region of East Africa, is the diversified economy of Kenya. As the 7th richest country in Africa by GDP, Kenya is one of the few economies on the continent that isn’t built around a commodity, and has diversified into industry and services.

Among the efforts to ensure that the youth of Kenya is capable of supporting its leading role in the future is the Generation program in the country, initiated by management consultancy McKinsey & Company. Generation is a worldwide initiative, established in 2014, which aims to develop skills in the labour market in correspondence with demand.

McKinsey's Generation records tremendous success in Kenya

The initiative is active in five countries, specifically India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain and the US, and works with unemployed candidates between the ages of 18 and 29. The program trains individuals in low-cost, high attrition skills, required in jobs such as a healthcare assistant or a food & beverage steward.

McKinsey Generation Kenya

In Kenya, the consulting firm works with 180 employer partners across a range of cities, including Nairobi, Chuka, Eldoret, Embu, Homa Bay, Kerugoya, Kisumu, Laikipia, Meru, and a number of others. So far, Generation has had tremendous success in the country.

The foundation offers a total of six programs in Kenya, spanning service-lines such as sewing, sales, financial services, restaurant retail, and customer service. Generation boasts a 90% rate of graduates employed within 90 days of completion. 98% of the employers of these graduates have said that they would employ Generation graduates again.

Late last year, the foundation celebrated the graduation of its first ever ‘Sewing Machine Operator’ program, producing 148 young graduates. The eight-week training program took place across four major training centres, namely Mombasa Apparel Mtwapa, Mombasa Apparel Jomvu, Africa Apparel Nairobi, and Kenya Industrial Training Institute.

64% of the graduates were employed within a week of the program, having learned basic skills of operating a single needle lock-stitch machine, and other skills required to work in Export Processing Zones.

The success has been consistent right from the start in the country, with the first class in 2015 recording a placement rate of 98% by graduation date. Strikingly, these placements were in the financial services sales segment, which is one of the most challenging sectors for employment even amongst university graduates. In 2016 alone, the generation graduated 500 students.