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Future of jobs: Why you may need new skills

By Graham Kajilwa | September 1st 2021


This man was captured in Eastleigh Estate selling Somali miswak fashioned out of a twig on August 09, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Re-skilling and re-training of workers in Africa has the potential of unlocking new job opportunities and safeguard existing ones. 

It was noted in an ongoing technical and vocational education training conference that due to technology, jobs in the continent are being rendered obsolete.

Ms Olga Striestka-Ilina, Head of Skills Strategies for Future Labour Markets, International Labour Organisation(ILO), described skills as a moving target that keeps slipping off. 

“Access to jobs is not by default but happens if there is a level of training(to match) and access those jobs,” she said during the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA)-Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa(ATUPA) International Conference. 

The theme of the conference is ‘The future of jobs: Training, workforce development and re-skilling Africa’.

Capa-Atupa chair Prof Laila Abubakar who is also the Vice-Chancellor Technical University of Mombasa said Kenya has taken lead in TVET education and cited implementation of the competency-based curriculum.

“This is to prepare learners to acquire skills as they move up-secondary education so that when they get to university, we will not have half baked graduates,” she said. 

Prof Abubakar said Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated a rapid change in skills and disrupted almost every sector which presents the need to invest in future jobs.

“Jobs are changing and other jobs are emerging. We hope this discussion will form a basis for other sessions,” said Jahou Faal CAPA-ATUPA secretary general. 

The conference brings together academicians and other experts from the continent and beyond among them China, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

The conference also saw the official launch of ATUPA as the Pan-African organisation for TVET bodies in the continent a rebrand from CAPA.

Prof Sarah Anyang, Commissioner Education Science Technology and Innovation, African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia said the continent is at the centre of the technology revolution which threatens to replace part of the labour force.

She said as a result some roles are becoming redundant.

“Employers are no longer interested in certificates but skills and competencies,” she said. 

She said the private sector has an important role to help alleviate skills mismatch. The governments as well should invest in the same. 

Anyang said TVET training is the best way to innovate in the changing skills market. 

Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) executive director Jacqueline Mugo said: “TVET is useful to skilling and reskilling as a private sector need employees who can adapt to changes.”  

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