Kenya to tap into Jersey Island labour deficit in hospitality

Saturday December 07 2019

Jersey Island. Kenya is identifying the island as a potential importer of hospitality labour to ease on Nairobi’s unemployment. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Kenya is identifying the Jersey Island as a potential importer of hospitality labour to ease on Nairobi’s unemployment.

In the latest bid to strengthen relations, Nairobi has pitched to Jersey authorities to establish long-term relations with the Kenya Utalii College to enable hospitality trainees get short or permanent jobs in Jersey Island.


Jersey recruitment firm GR8, which specialises in hiring construction and hospitality workers for companies, last week announced it will grant short-term jobs to 120 Kenyans who trained at the Kenya Utalii College.

The company said the group who passed through a rigorous interview in Nairobi will be given jobs once they provide all relevant documentations to enable them work in the island’s hospitality sector.

But it said the interviews were only part of a programme to work with the local training institution on how to provide future workers.


Mr Lee Madden, Managing Director of GR8 said Utalii could help offer reliable and reputable staff to plug shortages in Jersey.

“We will ensure that the candidates selected for the roles in Jersey meet all the legal requirements, have a passion for their profession and have researched Jersey and our own hospitality industry so that they can be the best they can be working here on their 9-month contract,” the official said in a statement.


Traditionally known for its financial services sector, the Jersey Island, officially known as the Bailiwick of Jersey is a self-governing dependency (part of British Isles) of the United Kingdom found in the English Channel.

By jurisdiction, the Jersey Island operates separate from the UK, running own legal and banking systems although the British government routinely defends its policies abroad.

Last year, the Island joined the UK and Switzerland to sign two agreements meant to help Kenya repatriate stolen wealth stashed in the Island’s banks, about Sh500 million.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding on Financial Cooperation and the Framework for Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime in Kenya, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Jersey will work with Kenyan authorities for the return to Kenya of assets that were acquired using proceeds of corruption and crime and to oversee how the money is spent on community projects.


The other agreement was the MoU on Financial Cooperation where the governments cooperate on taming money laundering or illicit transfer of monies.

Now Kenyan officials say Jersey can be more. Kenya’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Manoah Esipisu says a deal on hiring local workers could help improve employability of graduates.

“A long-term partnership would be ideal and it is something Kenya is pursuing,” He told the Nation on Saturday.

“Bridging the workforce deficit for our partners, which in turn means jobs for our professionals, is an integral part of a strong relationship we are building.”

The recruitment drive followed lobbying by the Kenyan envoy to London.

GR8 said it had sent representatives to Nairobi to physically gauge the interviewees who may be joining the island for short contract jobs in 2020, and supported by the industry’s lobby; the Jersey Hospitality Association.

But the officials were convincing locals who rarely apply for these short jobs due to the cost of travel and legally obtaining work in Europe.


Jersey has a population of about 100,000 people and relies on its financial services, agriculture and tourism. According to its latest Labour Market report, some m530 companies are involved in hotel, bar and restaurant business, creating 6400 jobs this year, most of which were short-term contracts.

Kenyan officials had previously met with Jersey’s Chief Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst about the jobs and to expand collaboration in areas of labour training and health investments.

With the recruitment, it could cap a successful year for the Kenyan Mission in London. Last week, Kenyan diplomats in the UK lobbied successfully to retain the seat on the Council of the International Maritime Organisation.