German Government to sponsor 3,000 Kenyan students to join Technical Training Institutions

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The German Government through its implementing agency KfW, Equity Bank, and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and the Equity Group Foundation have said they will sponsor nearly 3,000 Wings to Fly graduate scholars who sat for their 2016 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E.) Examinations to join Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions countrywide.

While some of them will enrol for 3-month certificate courses, others will be admitted to longer-term diploma courses with a scholarship covering their first 6 months and thereafter apply to the Higher Education Loans Board (H.E.L.B.) to finance the rest of their education.

Speaking during the launch, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Fred Matiang’i said that 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.”

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.

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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.  The next step is to ensure that the scholars secure admission and placement in appropriate institutions based on their identified course and geographical preferences.

“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, ” Equity Group Foundation’s Dr. James Mwangi said.

Declining enrollment levels, particularly in the traditional engineering and construction based courses, pose a serious challenge to the country’s policy of industrialization, yet industries play a pivotal role in development and growth of the economy. This further exacerbates the mismatch between formal training currently offered and requirements of employers.

The German Government  through its representative, 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.

“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,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO The MasterCard Foundation.

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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). It’s inviting other organizations and institutions to collaborate and partner with it to provide additional internships and employment opportunities.

In 2015, the MasterCard Foundation funded a pilot to help Wings to Fly Scholars transition from secondary education by equipping them with vocational skills. The results were impressive. 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 and boost youth employment, and potentially raising the country’s economic prospects.