Next August, the world will gather at the KAZAN EXPO International Exhibition Centre in Kazan, Russia for the 45th WorldSkills Competition (WSC), a three-day contest now aptly dubbed the “Skills Olympics”.
Unfortunately, Kenya will not be among the over 80-member states and associations expected at the bi-annual skills expo where young people of 25 years and below meet to showcase their prowess in 46 skill areas and receive recognition at this pinnacle of excellence in vocational education and training.
Kenya has over the years been a regional leader in training and innovation. However, by missing out at this international stage dedicated to strengthening and growing the technical and vocational skills needs to be urgently addressed.
The WSC is organised by WorldSkills International (WSI), a not-for-profit membership association open to agencies or bodies which have a responsibility for promoting vocational education and training in their respective countries.
Over the years, it has continued to provide a benchmark for high performance and an objective way to assess vocational excellence since it was established in 1950.
The WSC, organised from the grassroots level before the winning teams ascend to national and finally the global fete, is conceptualised to open the door to a world of opportunities to the youth by affording them space to try their hands at a skill. It also raises the awareness of the importance of technical and vocational training.
South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia are currently the only African members of WSC.
Besides, participating at the international stage, the countries have been organising their own national competition where they sieve the cream that transit to the global arena. The African Union has also partnered the WorldSkills to transform skills across the continent, especially with the population explosion and unemployment among the youth.
Last month the government of Rwanda together with WorldSkills, Festo Didactic, African Union and the Lincoln Electric organised a three-day competition that sought to enhance hands-on skills and international exchange of technical skills in the field of TVET. It brought together more than 2,000 youths from Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Rwanda and Uganda.
As a country, we have also not been left behind because last year in January we organised our own inaugural three-day skills show sponsored by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Authority and other partners. The next skills bonanza is scheduled to take place next February at the KICC.
Being a regional and continental stalwart in creativity and innovation, it is time we scaled up and tested our mettle at the global stage. The government has rightly positioned TVET as an enabler of the Big Four agenda.
But we need now to take our position at the world stage by becoming members of the WSC to give our youth a platform to gain self-realisation and global opportunities. At the TVET Authority, we want to initiate steps that will see the country join the competition. – The writer is the director general, TVET Authority—[email protected]