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State pleads with industry to help bridge skills gap

Noven Owiti and Roberto Muyela @PeopleDailyKe

Stakeholders in the manufacturing and technical production sectors have been urged to keep the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) abreast with  advancements they make in their firms to ensure relevancy of skills delivery.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Principal Secretary Kevit Desai said such partnership will reduce the time fresh graduates take to adapt to at work once they are absorbed by various employers.

Desai said players in the industrial sector have consistently been raising concern that it takes long for the youthful employees to work independently since some of them are not familiar with the sophisticated equipment used. This culminates in situations where new employees have to be re-trained.

The PS  regretted that similar gaps would continue to exist since students who go through technical training are exposed to multiplicity of skills, which prepares them to be masters of various skills. “It is the work of the employers especially during attachment phases to help nurture and direct the skills towards a specific line of occupation,” he said.

Desai said with the players entrenching innovation and productivity, they will help in closing the existing gap of trainees lacking the skills the industry demanded. ‘This will also enable the government line up itself with Vision 2030,” he said.  He called on curriculum drafters to ensure that the programmes they develop are tailored towards giving more time for practical aspects with a time bias compared to theoretical lessons.

The PS made the remarks at Kisumu National Polytechnic where he addressed various players in the industry and education sectors last week.

Kisumu National Polytechnic principal Joyce Nyanjom said the institution had already brought on board industrial partners,  for instance Coca-Cola and Kibos Sugar in a move to equip their students with necessary and marketable practical skills.

“We have also partnered with Comesa Secretariat, the European Union (EU) and the World Bank in  setting up a garment production facility at our institution  for garment production,” she said.

Earlier, when he opened a National TVET Fairs and Robotics Contest at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground, Desai urged technical colleges to embrace and support delivery of innovative skills in order to enable students to go for self-employment upon graduation. He said such innovative skills are relevant towards promoting productivity especially in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

The PS said as part of transforming TVET education,  his ministry was implementing a competent- based curriculum that will ensure students produced from the TVET institutions are more productive.

“The objective of this paradigm shift programme is to ensure that our technical institutions provide proficient skills that will go a long way in addressing the social-economical challenges we have in the society,” said Desai.

He added: “Such innovative ideas should be translated into national competitiveness as we seek to mitigate the problem of unemployment among the young generation.”

Desai assured stakeholders that the Tvet Department would continue to work closely with other partners in the private sector so that skills that are disseminated to the students are up to date with the requirements in the modern job market.

He also encouraged the youth to pursue as many technical courses as possible, saying this would open them gates to many job opportunities.

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