Every idea has an expiry date, so believes Milton Njanja, who helps people secure jobs and companies to recruit.
At 50, he has engaged in various businesses, from IT-related to construction – which explains why he believes in not quitting before making progress.
Some of his ventures went bust, while he sold off others that later grew into major regional corporations. Njanja is the executive director of Job Training Institute in Australia. The firm is headquartered in Melbourne and offers courses in community development and health – a sector with a massive skill
shortage in Australia that graduates have very high chances of employment once through with studies.
Prior to this success, the Bachelor of Commerce graduate from University of Nairobi had started an internet-based business as soon as he landed in Australia in 2002, setting up a shop to help migrants make VOIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.
However, the venture was later overtaken by fast technology changes and events that brought bigger firms came into the picture and drove him out of business.
Njanja pursued a Masters in Applied Technology while in Australia before starting a construction firm called Baraka Builders.
“We [Njanja and a co-founder] ran into cartels in the business and it became too hard. Then we decided to try something else,” he recalls.
With his wife Loice, they started JTI in 2008. This was preceded by a nursing agency in 2006 that serviced hospitals and old-age homes.
“We noted that people coming to Australia had a hard time getting employed. So, we set up a nursing agency, as there was a lot of demand in hospitals and nursing homes,” Njanja says.
Australia’s high life-expectancy rate, he adds, has seen many of its citizens living beyond 79 years on average.
“We thought it would be a good avenue to place migrants as they come into the country [Australia].”
However, even as job opportunities in the community and health sectors were in plenty, the couple realised that their business was being hampered by low skill levels, as most of the migrants seeking placement were not well-trained.
This is what resulted in the Job Training Institute. Understandably, there were very few enrolments. With time though, Njanja noted that this was because of absence of government sponsorships.
“Locals [Australians] will not come to your college without government funding because of the high fees,” he explains.
JTI secured government funding within the same year it was founded, enticing more students to enlist for training. “With the funding, the government pays the institution to train the students,” Njanja says.
Some of the courses offered at JTI include Diploma of Nursing and Certificate III in Healthcare.
The institution prides itself in a job absorption rate of over 80 per cent in the Australian market. Many Kenyans and Africans have trained at JTI and been assisted to secure nursing jobs in Australia, a feat
Njanja is quite proud of, having had to struggle to get a footing in Australia when he first landed there in 2002.
The Diploma of Nursing course only takes 18 months to complete.
“If you take Diploma of Nursing, you are guaranteed a job. Better still, the Australian government will allow you to work as you study and you can find work easily,” explains Njanja.
The Certificate III in Healthcare takes six months and owing to a shortage in the skill, the Australian government allows immigrants to work while studying.
By Lola Okulo