Stakeholders joint effort crucial in economic growth

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 00:00 | By
Economic growth. Photo/Courtesy

Countries all over the world have prioritised manufacturing in their economic rebound strategies, following the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

These countries recognise that a vibrant manufacturing sector culminates into job and wealth creation – and the undeniable ripple effect this has on other sectors of the economy.

For instance, it shall improve living standards and increase citizens’ disposable income, hence they are able to afford a variety of services.  

It is only through collaboration among stakeholders, that we shall realise our economic goals as a country and make manufacturing the backbone of our economy.

To achieve this, we need to ensure that we have a skilled population, to drive this much-needed growth. 

This calls on us, as a country, to ensure that we put in place systems and mechanisms to sustain the industrial revolution that is currently unfolding.

One of the ways of doing this is through Technical Vocation Education and Training (TVET). 

Collaborative investments in TVETs by government, industry and development partners shall result in enhanced employability skills for youth in Kenya. 

Industry remains a big contributor to job creation, which is a major driver for economic development and realisation of Vision 2030. 

To sustain this reality, there is increasing and significant demand for skilled workers in industries in Kenya, as well as a demand for improved quality of goods and services that meet both local and international standards.  

Kenya Association of Manufacturers seeks to address the low levels of employees’ skills and lack of skilled labour, through its TVET program.

We are actively involved in the ‘promotion of youth employment and vocational training’ programme, implemented through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. 

In cooperation with training institutions, our members are creating linkages for trainees in selected vocations to learn through a practical in-company training experience. 

This cooperative vocational training approach is modelled on the German Dual Vocational Training that has powered Germany growth and industrialization for over a century. 

The approach entails working with industries, TVET institutions and government agencies in-charge of technical and vocational training and other implementing partners to develop and deliver a training that allows graduates to be placed on a structured on-the-job mentorship in industries where they gain practical employability skills. 

The piloting of the cooperative approach has increased engagement of industry to improve the content and quality of training delivery for the automotive and manufacturing sectors.  

Targeting three skill areas – autobody technology, industrial mechatronics and automotive mechatronics, through the Thika Technical Training Institute, Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology and the Nairobi Technical Training Institute, respectively - the programmes are keen to produce graduates that are well rounded and contribute to the government’s priorities in the manufacturing sector as envisioned in the Big Four and Vision 2030.

Partnerships between stakeholders in the TVET space have been enhanced, with increased responsiveness to new technologies.

So far, students have had a three-month training block (semester) in industry after the first block in class, providing hands on experience on their learning experience. 

It’s undeniable that investments in vocational training to produce relevant skills for the labour market must go beyond effective policies, provision of training materials, and the review and improvement of training curricula.

It is important that industries support more in-company training opportunities in a variety of occupational areas in order to build the workforce of the future.  —The writer is the CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers —[email protected]

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