Standard Chartered Bank (Stanchart) has partnered with Sightsavers and Light for the World for the next two years to upscale the ‘Futuremakers Inclusive Employability Programme’ by investing a total of Kshs. 96.9Million. The programme will target students with employability training schemes and map-out the inclusivity barriers that underpins the growth and progress of students with and without disabilities.

The initiative, launched under the Bank’s FutureMakers employability pillar will enable Sightsavers to work with Organisations of People with Disabilities (OPDs) to increase the confidence and job readiness of 790 young jobseekers with disabilities including 150 jobseekers with a visual impairment through a combination of soft skills training and mentoring.

The funding will also enable Light for the World to work with more than 6,000 secondary schools, technical and vocational education and training institutes and universities to increase the confidence of young people with and without disabilities and develop their networks through careers talks, employability skills training, mentoring, and job shadowing.

People with disabilities, particularly women, have lower chances of finding employment than their peers, because of discrimination and inaccessible workplaces. Globally, employment rates for men (53%) and women (20%) with disabilities are lower than for men (65%) and women (30%) without disabilities. But by excluding people with disabilities from the labour market, countries can lose as much as 7% of their national GDP.

Kariuki Ngari, the Standard Chartered Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said, ”To build highly inclusive societies, we need to create employable opportunities for all, inclusive even for those who are often overlooked or underserved due to structural barriers. In Kenya, this is true for people living with disabilities. While a lot of progress has been made, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure that they are able to participate fully in the economy without discrimination or bias. Last year, we launched the Standard Chartered employability programme in partnership with Light for the World which we are pleased to be continuing. We are glad to also continue our long running partnership with Sightsavers by building on their work with jobseekers and employers to increase disability inclusion in the workplace. We remain committed to promoting greater economic inclusion for disadvantaged young people and look forward to further partnership with the two organizations.”

Through the initiatives, the Standard Chartered Bank, Sightsavers and Light for the World will not only strengthen the employability skill for students but also work with like-minded actors to provide occupational mentorship opportunities including, internships, career talks and drills, apprenticeships, job shadowing and recruitment opportunities.