Kenya has the power to reorient itself towards sustainable development using Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a vehicle for socio-economic and technological development.
A review of the current TVET curriculum would ensure the right skills set for economic growth, poverty alleviation, youth and women’s empowerment and social inclusion.
The earmarking of a national skills inventory by government, backed by an efficient labour market information system will ensure that skills training are based on the appropriate demand and through this, the informal sector will provide a wide range of employment opportunities in the country.
In the building and construction sector for instance, an increase in infrastructure projects and also a need for proper housing for citizens has created a need for expertise in the field.
The need for qualified personnel was also witnessed by the importation of technical personnel, during the construction of large projects like the Thika Superhighway.
The private sector has a huge role to play in the development of skilled labour. Having said that, the ongoing training by the Housing Finance Foundation, through the “Army of 1 million Artisans”, programme, aims to have artisans in the construction field trained as well as helping them access practical internship opportunities.
So far, the lessons drawn from the programme are a manifestation of how the private sector can play a role in ensuring that technical skills are harnessed to ensure we are at par with the global requirements in the sector.
The growing need of linking education to market demand has led to closer collaboration between industry players, training institutions and the government.
The notable mismatch between supply and demand for skilled labour has led to widespread underemployment in the informal sector. Through an intensive campaign to improve the technical institutions, the government and private sector can raise the quality of training in technical institutions.
This includes ensuring that technical institutions are available in every ward in the country to ensure more people have access to them. The need to link training to employment is the reason why enterprises should be deeply involved in determining the content of training, so that this becomes more relevant to the workplace.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship has been integrated into Technical Education and Training as part of the curriculum to provide trainees with business techniques.
Technical, vocational education and training which is demand-driven will ultimately lead to the development of the country and in the same stride promote an entrepreneurship culture so as to offer a wide range of employment opportunities to the youth and other members of the society. The writer a is senior programme manager, HF Foundation.