Under the theme, “Enhancing Industry-Driven Skills Development for Youth Employability”, a three-day National TVET conference closed on Friday November 17, with a focus on strengthening the ties between vocational training and industry needs, addressing the critical issue of youth employability in Kenya.
The conference that was held in Nairobi saw a convergence of key stakeholders from public and private sectors, TVET institutions, industry leaders, policy makers, and development partners.
The dual TVET programme – an educational approach that combines theoretical classroom instruction with practical workplace training – was the centre of attention at the conference that was organised by the State Department of TVET, under the Ministry of Education.
Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Education, Hon Ezekiel Machogu, graced the event as the chief guest. In his opening remarks, he emphasised the significance of the conference, stating, “I am glad this conference brings together TVET and industry to dialogue and exchange ideas on subjects which are part of the reforms we are implementing in the sector.” He also highlighted the importance of the conference as a platform for reviewing achievements and addressing challenges in the sector, expressing confidence that “the outcome of the conference will help inform and guide the ongoing and future reforms and strategies on how to implement them”.
“I am glad this conference brings together TVET and industry to dialogue and exchange ideas on subjects which are part of the reforms we are implementing in the sector," the CS said. He also highlighted the importance of the conference as a platform for reviewing achievements and addressing challenges in the sector, expressing confidence that “the outcome of the conference will help inform and guide the ongoing and future reforms and strategies on how to implement them”.
The conference was centred around promoting awareness of Dual TVET’s success in Kenya, spotlighting the benefits of industry participation in skill training, and developing practical recommendations for scaling up industry-driven skills development. The event also focused on promoting linkages and collaborations among stakeholders in the skills development ecosystem.
Finland’s Ambassador to Kenya, Pirkka Tapiola, lauded the efforts of all stakeholders in pursuing TVET-industry linkages. He noted the potential of Kenya’s young and growing population, stating: “TVET is cool, TVET matters and TVET is often the solution” for issues like inequality and economic advancement.
Tapiola challenged more private sector players to invest in practical-oriented TVETs and help bridge the unemployment gap.
Alexander Fierley, Deputy Ambassador of Germany to Kenya, pointed out that proper TVET-industry linkages are essential in meeting one of the biggest challenges of TVETs – delivering employable graduates to meet the growing industry demand. He emphasised that “the difficulty primarily arises from the lack of practice-oriented training and inadequate industry engagement”.
The conference also featured exhibitions showcasing various projects that demonstrated the sector’s progress and potential. The Edication CS lauded these exhibitions, remarking that they show the sector is on the right trajectory.
Since 2019, the State Department of TVET, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, has been piloting Dual Training in Kenya. This initiative has led to the development of seven industry-specific curricula, the enrolment of 350 trainees (including 26 percent women) across seven national TVET institutions, and the participation of over 65 companies.
The programme is now scaling up to institutionalise Dual Training in all regions of Kenya, a four-year programme jointly financed by Finland and Germany, and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The conference is a significant step towards aligning Kenya’s vocational training with industry needs and enhancing the employability of Kenyan youth, a crucial factor in the country’s journey towards economic development and prosperity.