Efficacy of Life Skills Education in Enhancing the Employability of TVET Graduates: The Case of St. Theresa Community College, Nairobi County
AbstractAs the demand for graduates with life skills aligned to the ever-dynamic job market continue to rise, training institutions are tasked with the responsibility of not only equipping students with the requisite work skills but also incorporating these life skills in their training programs. Although the embedment of soft skills in the training programs in many institutions has often been unstructured, unsystematic and haphazardly implemented, some institutions have successfully incorporated soft skills in their training curricula. One such example is the faith-based vocational training centers, commonly referred to as community colleges that offer life skills alongside work skills in their training programs. These colleges target a wide spectrum of marginalized members of the communities in urban, rural and informal set ups in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with a view of improving their livelihood through provision of vocational and life skills that are relevant to the needs of the society. However, there is a dearth of information on the efficacy of such interventions on the improvement of livelihoods of the targeted individuals. In light of the aforesaid, this study examined the extent to which the embedment of life skills education in vocational programs has enhanced the employability of community college graduates. Adopting phenomenological approach, the study interrogated the lived experiences of the college director, teachers, current and former students on the efficacy of life skills on the employability of the graduates. Purposive sampling and snowball sampling techniques were used to select the participants. Data was collected through interviews and focus group discussions. The analyzed data were presented in form of narratives and direct quotations. The findings showed that director, teachers and students believed that integration of life skills into the vocational programs at the college enhanced the employability of her graduates and they believed that communication skills was the most important skill in enhancing employability of graduates. The study recommends the integration of life skills education in TVET curricula, collaboration of TVET providers with employers in the provision and practice of life skills and further studies on the experiences of employers on the job performance of the TVET graduates.
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