Skills imparted by Technical Vocational Educational Training Institutions (TVET) will be critical in propelling Kenya to new industrialized status by 2030 and creating opportunities for self-employment.
Director of Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) Peris Adema said it was time the country stopped over-hyping university degrees and start to strike a balance between technical and vocational education and training and workplace demands.
Speaking during an ongoing capacity building workshop for County Industrial Development Officers at the Institute in Nakuru, Ms. Adema revealed that there was a growing shortage of technicians and artisans in the country.
“In order to achieve the Kenya Vision 2030, the country needs 90,000 technicians and over 400,000 artisans to plug the current shortage. We boast of having an educated youth, whose glossy academic qualifications are a mismatch with practical industry needs. Employers now want people with more than theoretical knowledge,” she said.
The Director said KITI was working with young innovators to help them develop their business ideas and models and have them patented by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI).
Ms. Adema said the institute was encouraging young innovators to use intellectual property (IP) law to protect their inventions and seek linkages with universities, research institutions and financiers to promote collaborative research in their creations.
The Director stated that both County governments and the National government were doing their part by building more TVET centres as well as upgrading the existing ones. She observed that the curriculum used for TVET institutes is also undergoing changes to ensure that it matches the current market needs.
Besides, she added, the National Construction Authority (NCA) has partnered with relevant organizations to train 1.5 million artisans by end of 2020. If the youth of Kenya embrace the training opportunities that TVET institutes offer, the country would be on the path to reining in the runaway unemployment in our midst.
“Young Kenyans need to appreciate the importance of self-employment. The uptake of graduates into the job market is low” said Adema.
She said the government was also in the process of rolling out the fourth phase of a Sh 15 billion World Bank funded youth training programme aimed at unlocking opportunities for them through job market skills training.
The fourth circle of the Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities Program (KYEOP) being implemented in all the 47 counties was scheduled to be launched in April this year but was suspended following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The KYEOP initiative is targeting more than 70000 youths to be trained free of charge on technical skills through National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) where they are interned at private manufacturing entities and paid a monthly stipend of Shs 6,000.
Adema observed that the unprecedented manner in which Kenyan inventors and researchers were responding to the Covid-19 pandemic was an indication that there ‘was a silver lining’ as far as innovation and inventiveness was concerned.
“While pandemics always impact our lives negatively, history shows that such crisis often act as inspiration for innovation. We are urging our youth to become more creative and seize business opportunities that this scourge has exposed,” stated the Director.
Addressing the same forum Directorate of National Cohesion and Values, director Mr Josiah Musili called on parents to instill moral values to children for posterity’s sake.
Musili noted that tens of thousands of college graduates enter the job market every year which made it extremely hard for them to secure jobs.
By Jane Ngugi/David Mururia