GMC Kenya Founder – Ravi Shah

GMC’s Impact on Kenya’s Talent Pool

– by Ravi Shah, Director of Greener Pastures Ltd, host of the Global Management Challenge in Kenya

Today, Kenya’s population is approximately 46 million people and around 60% (28m) of are below the age of 24 (CIA Factbook 2016). This youth demographic will have considerable influence in Kenya for many years to come, from both a demand & supplier perspective.

We have all heard about the challenges in Kenya’s Higher Education System, where there has been a massification of universities at the expense of the quality of teaching, especially with respect to what employers are looking for when recruiting for their working environments. A survey by Corporate Staffing Services among 205 employers revealed that almost three quarters of respondents receive too many job applications but still find it difficult to get desired talent.

I’d like to give an example of some experience of a young Kenyan business. Clothing Manufacturer Vivo Active Wear (founded by Wandia Gichuru) has been progressing well in Kenya. In February 2016, former PS Bitange Ndemo wrote about Vivo Active Wear and quoting from his article,

“…Vivo now employs 40 people and is expanding its retail network, setting up in Nairobi’s malls. Vivo is now exporting, competing internationally against the likes of ZARA. Their online sales are rising and local companies are helping them deliver to customers.

Her main challenge, however, is finding the right skills at all levels. The death of polytechnics in the country has hampered the expansion of mid-level skill sets, a challenge also echoed by Ciiru Waweru at Funkidz.

It’s absurd to seek these skills outside Kenya when we have so many unemployed youths inside it. The few with the necessary training are unable to use modern computer-assisted manufacturing in virtually all forms of manufacturing.  Wandia says that existing colleges are teaching from the old sketchbooks. Colleges & Universities need to wake up to today’s digital realities and urgently upgrade their curriculum to include computer-assisted techniques…”

The winners of the 2015-2016 Kenya Edition were a young team from Kenyatta University that got to experience their first travel outside of Kenya. They competed in Macau SAR, PR China at the International Finals performing exceptionally well and reached the main final, coming 8th overall out of 25 teams. The winners of the 2016-2017 Edition of GMC Kenya will compete in Doha, Qatar in April 2017.

We have seen several Alumni gain jobs and several of the recent alumni are on internships. Many GMC Alumni have seen improved analysis of businesses regardless of their background professionally.

Oliver Maina, Captain of winning Team Gladiators from Kenyatta University stated that, “Class doesn’t give us the real skills to take to the market. Competitions like the GMC bridge this gap”. He also stated that he gained skills in “Leadership and managing people”. He would like private sector and government to push for “Internships to be compulsory for students at University.”

The talent pool created by the GMC provides an alternative recruitment and affordable training opportunity for companies. In September 2016, 100,000 students will join Kenyan Universities and will need to find work once they graduate. Kenya’s next generation need jobs and employers want individuals & teams that can think critically in their businesses.

Earlier this year, the East African Institute performed a survey where 52% of people said that they would prefer to start their own business, in comparison to 28% that would prefer to be employed. Where better to learn about running a business, than by participating in the GMC, a modern online management challenge.

To date, the GMC has impacted on approximately 300 individuals in Kenya, with 24 teams participating in the 1st (2014 – 2015) Edition and 41 teams in the 2nd (2015-2016) Edition. We want to impact on over 1,000 individuals in the next 2 years in Kenya. Kenya can have a wider skilled workforce that is able to move their skillset across industry.

We are calling all private and corporate firms to Partner with us for 3rd Edition of GMC Kenya and benefit from this alternative recruitment and training platform. By partnering with us, companies will be able to showcase themselves across many different media platforms, as well as on a global stage.

Picture your existing, highly satisfied corporate clients seeing your brand helping towards the country’s talent pipeline that will then be absorbed by those same clients.

Engrain the brand into the students who participate. Through this life-changing experience they are likely to climb the wealth ladder quicker – customers for the future, already in your pipeline.

Ravi Shah’s profile

Ravi is an Industrial Economist with a background in Financial Services (UK), Supply-Chain and Steel Manufacturing (Khetshi Dharamshi & Co Ltd – manufacturers of Ng’ombe & Nyati Barbed Wire). He has a BA in Industrial Economics from the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Supply Chain Management from Cass Business School, London