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Calls for collaboration as world marks youth skills day

By Agency | July 15th 2020
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the Federal Republic of Germany and President Uhuru Kenyatta during the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of an industrial mechatronics centre at the Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (PHOTO: Courtesy)

NAIROBI, KENYA: The World Youth Skills Day (WYSD 2020) is celebrated on July 15, every year. The United Nations invented day aims at spreading awareness of the importance that technical and vocational education, training, and the development of new skills holds in our lives and is relevant to both local and global economies.

The commemoration of WYSD 2020 is happening in an extremely challenging context. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown measures have led to the worldwide closure of TVET institutions, threatening the continuity of skills development.

In Kenya, the nationwide closure of educational institutions disrupted learning and training of over 430,000 TVET trainees.

They are now home – mainly because practical skills and work-readiness aspects that are typically the hallmark of TVET training are challenging to deliver remotely as they require the use of equipment or materials that are institution-based.

With the Ministry of Education planning to re-open TVET institutions in September this year in strict adherence to the Ministry of Health's guidelines for containing the virus, Zack Kinuthia, the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education is upbeat affirming, “The training institutions are putting in place measures to curb the spread of the virus including flowing water, access to hand sanitisers and provision of face masks at subsidised costs.”

Horst Bauernfeind, Programme Manager of the Promotion of Youth Employment and Vocational Training programme at GIZ notes that stronger collaboration between technical training institutions (TTIs) and the industry is key in equipping youth with impeccable skills to follow their passion, improve their economic prospects and promote development in Kenya.

“There is no better investment than helping a young person to develop their abilities,” Bauernfeind says.

In response to companies having to retrain fresh graduates, GIZ is piloting the cooperative (or dual) vocational training as an important ingredient in equipping youth with demand-oriented vocational skills for the labour market.

Through the implementation of the competence-based education and training model that encourages stronger collaboration between technical training institutions and private sector companies, students will spend 50 per cent of their time in TTIs.

The remaining 50 per cent will be used to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in class, in an actual work environment. “In the end, highly motivated trainees whose career objectives are directly related to the job will be integrated into the day-to-day work in the partnering companies.”

“It will also allow training institutions to create strong partnerships with industry and offer them continuous access to diversely talented and highly motivated technicians, ‘made in Kenya’ and tailored to the industry needs.”

In parallel to the GIZ support, German Financial Cooperation via KfW supports these pilot institutes with new workshops and training equipment in the relevant areas to make the practical training a hands-on experience. The financial and technical cooperation for the first phase is approximately $28.4 Million in total.

Mary Maina, a Mechatronics Technician who recently graduated from the apprenticeship programme conducted by Krones East Africa, troubleshoots using a multi-meter equipment used to measure electric current. Looking on is Henning Post, the Head of Training at Krones (Photo: Courtesy)



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