NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – Stakeholders in the manufacturing sector, businesses, development partners and technical training institutions have reaffirmed their commitment towards boosting employment opportunities for Kenyan youth in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and GIZ’s E4D/SOGA – Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa Programme, held an event earlier thai week to create awareness of available opportunities for the private sector, technical institutions and potential job applicants to bridge the skills gap experienced in industry.
Speaking at the event, the State Department of Vocational and Technical Training (TVET) Principal Secretary, Dr. Kevit Desai noted: “Skills development stimulates creation of sustainable development process and can make a contribution to transition from the informal to the formal economy. Further, skills are essential to address the opportunities and challenges to meet new demands of changing economies and new technologies in the context of globalization.”
Also present at the event, KAM Chairman, Sachen Gudka said that adopting innovative and strategic policies that enhance partnership is key to address the skills and capacity gaps in industry.
“For Kenya to grow a resilient and sustainable manufacturing sector, supportive business and physical environment are important prerequisites, where continuous skills development of the labour workforce plays a critical role,” said Gudka.
At present, the TVET system is primarily supply-oriented and the local workforce cannot match the required skills for the labour market.
“Kenya has invigorated efforts towards bridging these gaps through various initiatives such as the reforms in the TVET sector and implementation of Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) curriculum in the desire to establish an intentionally competitive workforce. However, the need to be connected to broader growth, employment and development strategies is crucial,” noted Gudka.
The Programme Director for Sustainable Economic Development and E4D/SOGA Kenya, Aregash Asfaw underpinned the importance of deliberate engagement of the private sector in the TVET space through the technical institutions to improve quality of training in technical trades.
“In order to sustain or even accelerate Kenya’s economic growth, it is necessary to increase the number of, and improve the quality of training of crafts-people, technicians and engineers. Our partnership with KAM seeks to improve access to technical jobs and increase economic opportunities for the Kenyan youth,” she noted.
The partnership between GIZ-E4D/SOGA and KAM has for the past two years focused on mobilizing industry to offer TVET graduates a three-month hands-on training as well as training graduates on work readiness including soft skills and proper work ethics, among others.
Under the programme, 800 graduates received the work readiness trainings and out of these, 344 graduate trainees were employed. Industry players have lauded this initiative as it provides an opportunity for them to select best performers from the apprenticeship as employees.
At the event, stakeholders also deliberated on the perks of Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET), which is supported by E4D/SOGA in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and technical training institutes. Here, after absorbing a three-month training in the institutions, learners are provided with a three-month practical skills and knowledge in the industry – to the standards of – and relevant to the industry and business.
Manufacturers were urged to directly participate in the CBET training program, currently being offered in six institutions in the country, by providing trainees with on-the-job training during the three months industrial attachment. This will ensure that technical institutions produce a progressive, resilient and globally competitive workforce that adapts to new and dynamic work practices and latest technologies for the 21st century.
The gathering was in agreement that; this, not only promotes access to jobs and economic opportunities for youth in Kenya while boosting the quality of skilled workforce, but also contributes in strengthening the role of the industry in TVET and to the Government’s commitment to reinvigorate Kenya’s manufacturing sector and job creation agenda – the Big 4 Agenda that seeks to increase the GDP share of the manufacturing sector currently at 8.4% to 15% as well as create 1.3 million jobs by 2022.