Participants of Africa Tech Challenge season 6 have been urged to embrace technical skills as a way of making them self-reliant in the job market. This was said by Stanley Maindi, Deputy Director, Technical Education, State Department of Vocational and Technical Training (TVET).
Maindi was speaking at the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) during a training and mentorship forum for the participants from across eight African Countries namely; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Zambia.
He termed over-emphasis on university education at the expense of technical skills as a ‘bug’ dragging the African continent behind in achieving the Africa Agenda 2063.
“The youth must change their mindset on degrees and focus on acquiring technical skills. Gone are the days when having university degrees were equivalent to success and direct absorption by the job market,” said Maindi.
The top 6 teams will walk away with cash prizes worth Sh1 million while the top two teams will also be awarded manufacturing contracts worth Sh10 million.
The participants have also been challenged to champion TVET programs in their respective countries and encourage self-branding based on special skills they offer in facilitating the development of their different economies.
“Cultivate the culture of self-branding, you are identified with what you can do within your organization, but not just by name and academic papers. Said Maindi
While advocating for Competence-Based Education (CBC), Maindi said that Kenya’s skill acquisition through training is a means of utilising TVET to create job opportunities.
“Education sector in Kenya is being reformed to competence acquisition, this means skills for gainful employment,” he said.