Kenya School of Government has commissioned graduates who underwent training at Embu as Mentorship champions in 2019.
The mentorship programme for Office Administrative Services Personnel was commissioned by Mary W. Kimonye, CBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service, on Thursday 30th June 2022.
Jane Fonda once said, “You can run the office without a boss, but you can’t run an office without secretaries.” They are a cadre of administrative personnel trusted with confidential material and are expected to have a knack for organizing and processing information, making informed decisions and meeting deadlines. In Kenya, they are referred to as Office Administrative Services Personnel.
The first college for Secretaries in the country was Government Secretarial College where the lot underwent rigorous training back in the day with key stakeholders putting in a lot of resources in the training of the Secretaries. In turn, the calibrer of Secretaries who went through this training was of high standards.
Secretarial training started declining in terms of quality after the institution was taken over by the Kenya School of Law. The training was left to accredited institutions that hardly met the expectations of the job market. Most of the Office Administrative Assistants coming out of the accredited colleges are considered “half baked” and “inept”, with services being offered to internal and external clients becoming a rising concern.
The Public Service also faces an ageing workforce; Secretaries who passed through the government training system will retire within the next few years.
In this regard, the State Department for Public Service introduced the Office Administrative Personnel Mentorship Programme in 2019. The programme was geared at facilitating a relationship in which experienced Office Administrators share knowledge and experiences with Mentees working in respective Ministries/Departments/Counties and Parastatals towards a mutually beneficial professional development.
Thirty-five (35) Office Administrative Personnel were on Thursday commissioned as Office Administrative Personnel Mentorship Champions after completion of a training programme conducted at the Kenya School of Law, Embu in 2019.
During the commissioning, Mary Kimonye, CBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service recognized the lot as the liaison officers between their Ministries/Departments and the State Department for Public Service.
“As mentors, you will be the Liaison Officers between your Ministries/Departments and the State Department for Public Service. You will be expected to work closely with the Human Resource Management Division/Units in identifying any gaps in office administrative performance as well as emerging issues and come up with practical strategies for change and growth.,”
Principal Administrative Secretary and Deputy Head of Public Service, Mr. Kennedy Kihara sensitized on security and secrecy as one of the top responsibilities of an Office Administrative Service Personnel.
“The main threat to any organization, company or country is espionage. Every country protects its data and many outside nations are interested in data withheld within government. State departments, as well, have secrets and hence must have a policy that ensures the data is safeguarded. It is your obligation, even on a personal level as an Administrative Personnel to ensure you guard the secrets of your Ministry/Department.”
According to Mary Kimonye, CBS Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service, it is envisaged that through the mentorship, the Ministries/Departments and the Mentors will be able to identify the training needs for Office Administrative Service Personnel, plan and budget for informed training programmes in the Service leading to informed and inclusive solutions that will transform Office Administrative Services Personnel in the Service.
She further challenged the thirty-five to demonstrate work ethics in order for their mentees to demonstrate the same.
“If you want your mentees to demonstrate work ethics like punctuality and task completion, then you must demonstrate this practically,” Mary Kimonye, CBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Public Service.