Nakuru County Government is in the process of upgrading all Youth Polytechnics and Technical Vocational Education Training Institutes (TVETs) in a move aimed at empowering learners with industry-responsive skills that will help bridge skills gap among TVET graduates.
Governor Ms. Susan Kihika said the County Government was partnering with International Labour Organisation (ILO) and several private companies to ensure the students get hands-on skills by spending at least 50 percent of their training time working in relevant industries.
Kihika said she has set aside funds towards youth empowerment initiatives including upgrading facilities at the County’s Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) with the aim of meeting required standards and attracting more youth enrolments.
The county, she added, was exploring a model where students would be subjected to a combination of theory and practical training, in a real-life work environment through an interchange of training at a TVET institute and in a company or industry.
“We are updating the training equipment in the TVETs and youth polytechnics to reflect advancement in technology,” said Kihika.
The governor voiced the County’s commitment to enrolling more young people in various courses that are not offered professionally at the University level, a move she said will empower them for the job-market.
Kihika observed that close links between enterprises and training centres has been at the core of Western World’s economic success since the 19th century, adding that by by building up such TVET ecosystem in Kenya, it would provide concrete job opportunities for many unemployed youths.
She expressed appreciation for the contribution made by private sector in the formal employment, but noted with regret that in some cases, the sector was struggling to find candidates due to a mismatch between the courses offered at TVET institutions, and advised the sector to partner with tertiary institutions to develop specialized short-term practical courses, for example, on entrepreneurship, to further sharpen graduates’ business skills.
The Governor added that her administration was keen to forge partnerships with the private sector in areas of research with emphasis on the changing market environment and consumer trends that will help build a valuable knowledge base that private sector and the county government could leverage to improve technical training centres.
She further said the National Government has rolled out new technical and vocational courses as it began to implement the Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) policy framework aimed at delivering industry responsive skills.
The governor emphasised the need for an effective Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) system, which includes development of occupational standards, training programmes, facilitation of training as well as assessment, which she said will play a key role in achievement of the Big Four Government agenda and Vision 2030.
Nakuru County has 24 youth polytechnics spread across the 11 sub counties. According to the Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA), there are two accredited public TVET institutions in the county including the Dairy Training Institute in Naivasha and the Rift Valley Institute Science and Technology in Njoro and a total of 18 accredited private TVET institutions.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows enrolment of students in national polytechnics, public technical and vocational colleges increased by 4.8 percent to 451,205 in 2020 a sign that the government’s efforts to grow enrolment in the institutions is bearing fruit. The number of TVET institutions increased by 7.5 percent to 2,301 in 2020.
By Esther Mwangi