The Ministry of Labour has embarked on a raft of reforms to improve quality of training in technical institutions.
Kenyan employers have for long complained of lack of industry-ready graduates. The firms say they usually have to invest in matching the skills of entry-level employees with jobs that they are required to do.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the reforms would enhance the role of National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) in its oversight role. He said this is the only way the country can build a pool of skilled labour force and achieve its development plans.
“My ministry is spearheading reforms that will support NITA’s regulatory role. The goal of these reforms is to develop every trainee’s potential at all levels through a Competence Based Education and Training approach, so as to ensure that there is provision of skilled human resources to drive growth in Kenya,” he said.
Mr Yatani spoke Thursday when NITA launched its August series of the National Trade Test, where technical skills for students and professionals are tested. It is part of the process that NITA uses to certify trainees.
He said there is still a major gap between the education system and the industry needs, with more than a third of employers saying they cannot get graduates that match what the kind of jobs they have.
“It is unfortunate that 30 per cent of employers in Kenya are citing inadequately skilled workforces as a major constraint to business expansion. Kenya’s grand development projects require 30,000 technologists, 40,000 technicians, and at least 90,000 craftsmen. Currently, the country is producing only a quarter of these annually,” said Yatani.
“The only guaranteed way for our country to turn this situation around is by building a strong manufacturing base from which all other sectors can benefit. Industrialisation is the main driver of sustained and progressive economic growth and self-sustenance. We cannot build this base with rudimentary skills.”
At the event, NITA Board chair Dr Kamau Gachigi noted that in training for the industry, it was crucial to infuse technology into the education system and adapting to the fast-changing of technology.
“It is, therefore, necessary to strengthen linkages between training institutions and industry so as to ensure that skills developed remain responsive to changes in the industry. This will ensure that highly trained manpower will support all the sectors of the economy,” he said.