Infrastructure investment company Transcentury Group has announced a major partnership with the national and county governments to bridge the skills gap between education and employment by launching a technical skills training programme.

The company has set aside Kshs20million to go into the first year of the rollout. Benchmarked against the local Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) policy, it will be rolled out in conjunction with local technical training colleges aims to bridge the industrial skills gap as part of the country’s industrialisation agenda.

“The pilot programme of the Transcentury Technical Training Programme (TTTP) will be first rolled out in Kenya with expansion plans now underway, to other Pan African countries where the firm operates,” said Transcentury Group CEO Dr Gachao Kiuna during the programme launch.

The education sector has for a long time been plagued by a myriad of challenges including the production of students who lack the technical skills required in the job market. This has created a gap between the quality of students that colleges are generating and the needs of the employers, a situation that has increased the unemployment challenge in Kenya.

“As a key industry player Transcentury Group acknowledges that there is an existing gap that needs to be addressed, driven by the fact that over 70 per cent of our staff are drawn from the technical Institutions that we are now seeking to partner with,” added Dr Kiuna.

The TTTP pilot project will kick off at four institutions in the country namely; Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (KIST, Kiambu), Rift Valley Technical Training Institution (RVTTI, Eldoret), Kenya Industrial Training Institution (KITI, Nakuru) and Mombasa Technical College (MTC, Mombasa). The programme will include the Transcentury scholarship programme which will be merit based to students in electrical and electronics and building and civil engineering. Annual internships in all Transcentury offices in Africa will be available for the students.

Currently, there are about 790 Technical, Vocational Education and Training Institutions in Kenya, 79 of which are public. About 148,000 students go through the technical institutions in Kenya annually, compared to 568,000 who graduate from the 67 universities in the country, the low intake in technical schools, Dr. Gachao said, needs to be addressed.

“Research shows that youth unemployment levels in Kenya is at 67 per cent, yet 92 per cent of those unemployed have no vocational or professional skills. Therefore, encouragement for youth to enroll to technical schools will reduce drop out cases on completion of primary and secondary education,” he explained.

Late last year, the government established the Technical Vocational Educational Training Authority that will manage technical training institutions in the country in a bid to actualize Vision 2030. It also allocated Kshs 2.5billion for the construction of technical training institutes in every county which will see about 60 vocational training centres built across the country as the state moves to plug a technical skill gaps that threatens Kenya’s industrialization ambitions.

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