Consulting Opportunity: Project development and pilot launch for Fundi Jidosha – Cross-border livelihoods for Kenyan mechanics in Japan
Labor Mobility Partnerships (LaMP) is a non-profit organization with a worldwide mission to dramatically increase the scale and quality of labor mobility, helping workers from low-income countries access quality jobs across borders and businesses in high-income countries respond to deepening labor shortages. LaMP seeks to lift millions of workers and their families out of poverty and proactively address critical challenges faced by aging societies.
To accomplish its mission, LaMP works with businesses, governments, and workers to address market failures and regulatory barriers that impede safe and effective labor mobility. LaMP forms multi-stakeholder partnerships to solve problems first in “practice” – through a process of discovery, design, piloting and scaling mobility programs – then in “policy” – through advice, advocacy, and replicating tools and technologies.
These efforts collectively lead to scaled labor mobility pathways that are reliable, rights-respecting, and market-compatible, thus financially sustainable. These pathways create value for workers, employers, and economies along the way. With persistent mismatches between the demand for and supply of labor across borders, the market for global mobility solutions will grow exponentially in coming years. Now is the time to get this right and unlock the enormous impact potential of quality, rights-respecting labor mobility at scale.
LaMP looks to establish or expand safe and legal mobility pathways to places like Europe, East Asia, and North America. LaMP has received funding to help demonstrate what is possible through a Kenya-Japan migration corridor.
Japan – which needs 350,000 foreign workers by 2025 and 11M by 2040 – represents a chance to demonstrate and scale access to rights-respecting cross-border livelihoods, a key solution for youth employment in Kenya. Japan's Specified Skills Worker (SSW) program can offer a safer and higher-paying alternative to Gulf migration.
LaMP has received funding to design and pilot a program for cross-border livelihoods for Kenyans in Japan, starting with the auto mechanic occupation. Japan has an acute need for mechanics (with 4.6 job offers for every 1 job seeker) and has already carved out 6,500 potential visas to start to address shortages. Kenya has both trained mechanics and ongoing training capacity, with limited local placements. Auto mechanic jobs in Japan pay 5-10x the salaries in Kenya and 2-4x the salaries in the Gulf. Unemployment and underemployment are significant issues in Kenya, with approximately 30% of youth (18-34) facing unemployment.
Over the next 6 months, LaMP will design a Kenya-Japan labor mobility program that addresses the major challenges to realizing this cross-border livelihood opportunity at scale: cost of language training, location of skills test, and long-term financing solutions. Alongside this systems-building work, LaMP will design and conduct a Mini Pilot to send mechanics to Japan and identify funders for a Full-size Pilot of the program. The Mini Pilot will deliver early impact by placing workers in jobs and generate critical learning on hypothesized solutions to inform the model for the full-size program and for the many other cross-border opportunities that face similar challenges.
Project activities are taking place in three phases:
Phase 1: Designing a Mini Pilot (Jan-May ’24, <20 workers)
- Interviewing target segments e.g. Kenyan mechanics/migrants, Japanese employers;
- Qualifying demand and supply of employers/workers
- Onboarding and finalising implementation partners
- Designing Mini Pilot incl. costing, timelines, metrics, etc.
Phase 2: Designing a Full-size Pilot (Jan-Jun ’24, approx., 300 workers)
- Designing for scalability/sustainability of a Full-size Pilot
- Interventions to support Kenyan worker integration in Japan
- Securing commitment from partners for Full-size Pilot,
- Identify/design financial solutions for workers e.g. workers loans, income-share agreements
- Identify funding sources across philanthropy/public sector
Phase 3: Implementation of Mini Pilot (Jul ’24-’25)
- Mechanics undergo skills and language training
- Mechanics prepare for exams and travel to Japan to complete exams
- Mechanics are placed in jobs in Japan
There is a final phase involving implementation of the Full-size Pilot, but these activities are currently excluded as this stage as they are dependent on future funding and success of the initial stages.
LaMP and its partners have completed an initial phase of discovery for this project which includes identifying an impact case, barriers, and solution model. We have also engaged potential partners on the opportunity. We are now working on Phase 1 and 2 (pilot designs) concurrently.
Contractor: Scope of Work
LaMP is seeking a part-time contractor from March-June to support the design work of Phases 1 and 2, with potential for longer term support thereafter. Core contractor responsibilities include but are not limited to:
Mini Pilot Analysis and Design
Conduct desktop/secondary analysis on context, stakeholder landscape, etc. (Kenya/Japan) to fill remaining gaps in current LaMP knowledge
Identify, coordinate, and occasionally lead interviews of key stakeholders in Kenya e.g. prospective migrants, mechanics, etc. including mechanics, etc.
Collect critical data points, especially on costs, to help develop and refine mini- and Full-size Pilot budgets
Identify critical support needed to ensure/uphold worker welfare in transit and while working in Japan, and implications for Mini Pilot features and budget
Partner identification, selection, and support:
Vet potential implementation partners (both for-profit and NGO) who will provide skills training, language training, and recruitment of mechanics in Kenya.
NOTE: Lamp is already working with Mitsui OSK Lines, a Japanese transportation company with a recruitment arm and presence in Kenya, and has identified potential language and skills training partners, at least for the Mini Pilot.
Alongside of LaMP team, review and advise on implementation partner processes, capabilities, and costs, e.g.:
Ability to develop pipeline of mechanics fit for the program
Cost effectiveness of language and skills training
Responsible recruitment practices
Capacity to grow
Ability to understand and address skills gap for SSW certification
Identify and make introductions to other critical partners for short- and long-term programming (government, banks, youth fund)
Help determine where greatest likelihood of future partnership lies
Support onboarding of implementation partners for mini and Full-size Pilots
Aligning on expectations etc.
Additional Full-size Pilot Design
Conduct “market sizing” estimates of potential supply of workers in Kenya at various stages (e.g., interested but not trained, partially trained, fully trained but lacking language skills)
Assess growth potential of skilling/language infrastructure in Kenya for Full-size Pilot
Provide support to Full-size Pilot budgeting, work planning/timelines, creation of. outreach material/comms., identification of metrics, etc.
Support in evaluating and designing financing solutions/partners for Full-size Pilot
Support in finding philanthropic, concessional funders for Full-size Pilot
An entrepreneurial go-getter looking to create tangible impact – labour mobility is about creating a systems intervention which requires being proactive and creative, sitting comfortably with uncertainty, and bringing together and managing a diverse group of stakeholders
Heavy on the operational – you like making a vision into a practical reality, with no detail too small or unimportant. Project design and execution are responsibilities that give you energy.
Have analytical experience including conducting primary interviews – you like to get out there, speak to people, and cohesively express your learnings
Someone who can take a step back and build frameworks to conduct market and skill gap analysis (demand/supply side)
Minimum 5 years of work experience required (Bachelor’s required, master's preferred); experience overseas or with international stakeholders preferred
Fluent English and preferably Swahili speaker
Some migration and/or labour mobility experience preferred but not a requirement – feel free to apply if you are passionate about creating rewarding cross-border economic opportunities for Kenyans
Anticipated effort level, location and timing:
Minimum 40 days between Mar-July 2024, but willing to consider up to full-time effort (1 FTE @ 100%, roughly 95 days) during this period depending on contractor capabilities, capacity, and budget.
LaMP anticipates expanding its overall capacity in Kenya so there is a potential for this contract to be a pre-cursor to a longer-term engagement.
The consultant must be based in Nairobi, Kenya and will be working with Prerna Choudhury, project lead, who is based out of Nairobi.
Note: This is a remote role with regular, in-person meetings/check-ins
Application & Interview process
Send the following as an application by February 18
A 2-3 slide PowerPoint presentation (attached as PDF) conveying understanding of the objectives, your capabilities relevant to the scope of work, and any reflections/key considerations to ensure a successful design and launch of this project
An updated CV, or list of qualifications
Proposed daily rate – this consultancy will be paid on a time and materials basis
Availability of contractor during the next 6-12 months, i.e., is there flexibility to provide more intensity or duration of support if needed
Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview to assess fit for the role. We expect to make a final selection by Feb 29.