Nearly 3,000 Wings to Fly graduate scholars who sat for their 2016 KCSE Examinations will join Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions countrywide.
This is after Equity Group Foundation partnered with the German government through its implementing agency KfW, Equity Bank, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) to sponsor the scholars.
Speaking during the launch, Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said the ministry is committed to investing in the development of technical and vocational training to address the skills gap in the country’s work force.
“The Vision 2030 has placed new demands on Technical & Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a leading engine that the economy must essentially rely upon to produce adequate levels of middle level work force that will be needed to drive the economy towards the attainment of the vision. TVET institutions offer opportunity for many young people to gain tech skills both for self and formal employment,” the CS said.
Kenya has over 60 public and private TVET institutions and another 70 are under construction, which offer a wide range of training programmes from certificate to diploma levels.
They offer a variety of courses including building construction; carpentry and joinery, commercial-based fields; engineering, textile-based programmes, catering, hospitality, plus information and communication technology.
EGF’s Chairman, Dr. James Mwangi announced that the 2,818 Wings to Fly alumni have already undergone a 3-day induction to sensitize them on TVET as well as career advice aimed at positioning their mindset on employability and informing them on appropriate choices of courses to be pursued.
“Given the high rates of youth unemployment, skills-based training offers the fastest way to secure jobs and to advance in a technical skills-based career path. We are designing a program with several elements to ensure successful transitions through school and into the work place. The initiative is a set of focused, connected interventions that are informed by EGF’s firsthand experience through the Wings to Fly program 2013-2015 alumni who are currently enrolled in TVET institutions, ” Dr. Mwangi said.
He added, “Equity Group, this year, is providing internships to 600 of the 2,818 graduates through the Equity Bank Paid Pre-University Internship program (Equity Leadership Program). We invite other organizations and institutions to collaborate and partner with us, particularly in the provision of additional internships and employment opportunities. We believe that availing these opportunities to our youth equip them with skills that would greatly address the above challenges, especially unemployment.”
On its part, the German Government through its representative, Professor Dr. Hidegard Lingnau, Head of Development Cooperation, reassured the scholars of the German government’s continued support through its implementing agency KfW.
“We are happy to join you in this endeavour of technical and vocational training and we will extend our focus in this area of cooperation from this year forward. This support will facilitate in skills development and employment of the beneficiaries”, said Prof Dr Lingnau.
Speaking on behalf of the Wings to Fly partners, Reeta Roy, President and CEO The MasterCard Foundation encouraged the graduates to take up the TVET Scholarships.
“In Kenya, we have a need for skilled trades. So, think about vocational education as a means to continue learning and earning! I encourage you to seize this opportunity to expand your portfolio of skills,” said Reeta Roy.
“The advanced economies such as Germany, S. Korea and Singapore are home to the world’s most competitive industries that produce world-class automobiles, electronics, and medical equipment. This is largely thanks to those governments’ investments in vocational education that has developed a highly skilled, technically competent and well-compensated workforce,” she added.
In 2015, the MasterCard Foundation funded a pilot to help Wings to Fly Scholars transition from secondary education by equipping them with vocational skills.
Now, the Government of Kenya and KfW have expanded this program to enable nearly 3000 Wings to Fly Graduates to acquire new skills in practical trades.