Industry Relevant TVET Skills: For Youth Employability
The Kenya Youth Employment program, an initiative funded by the World Bank assessed and confirmed that the second largest barrier to youth employment is the skills mismatch –what the youth are getting from TVET colleges and universities does not match what the employer/industry need. This is further compounded by lack of industry exposure/apprenticeship because much of what they learn in college is theory. Thus, Centurion systems Limited partnered with two highly esteemed companies; Krones LCS and Nairobi Bottlers Ltd in a unique and innovate way to upgrade the skills of students with the key objective to give students an opportunity to gain practical skills and experience to complement on their theory and develop industry relevant skills. This partnership created the Center of Excellence (CoE) For Food and Beverage Industry.
The CoE came up with a 2 year apprenticeship program dubbed the Mechatronics Apprentice Program. The CoE recruited the first cohort of 9 apprentice in August 2015 and are scheduled to finish their apprentice program in July 2017. The program is structured such that the apprentices get practical training on mechanical modules at Nairobi Bottlers, and then proceed to Krones East Africa for electrical modules and further practical experience with the Krones machine lines on factory experience. The apprentices then come to CSL for automation and process control modules to learn sub-system components and micro-controllers and pneumatics. At the end of the program, the apprentices will do a trade test assessed by NITA for certification and also receive an international recognition through a German certification.
The apprenticeship Program has been a success so far and it is expected that the 9 apprentices will not only be role models across the TVET system but showcase to the entire education system the importance of realigning skills acquired in TVET institutions to industry needs and the collaboration of industries to achieve it.
Mary Nyingi, former student at Nyeri Technical Training Institute appreciates being in the program. Having come from a mechanical background, her practical skills have enhanced and she can solve problems be it trouble shooting, fault finding or handling machines.
Stanley Mwangi, a former student at Kenya Technical Training College specialized in electrical engineering, commends the support and assistances of the trainers from developing the kits to programing.
Stanley says that the greatest advantage of the program was its links to industry. It is important for industry to be involved in technical training and technical skills providers to focus on demand driven skills. He is greatly appreciative of the technicians and engineers he has had the opportunity to work under.
Reliable electrical and electronics equipment is crucial for operating continuous processes. That is why it is essential that machines undergo highly specialized repair and maintenance services in case of a breakdown.
Lewis Mwaniki, an intern at CSL and a former student of Kabete Technical Training Institute working with a fellow intern from Zetech College are seen in the picture above working on a VSD card.
Andrew Young (right) an intern at CSL discussing with Kelvin Kavita the technical manager on how to make a locally designed SCADA. Andrew young is a former student at Railway Training Institute.
Centurion Systems Limited, Krones East Africa and Nairobi Bottlers are working hand in hand with TVET colleges and universities to make sure that the students get access to practical training and knowledge required to gain employment as well as enable them to work in various fields.