KAM urges innovation for economic growth

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has urged stakeholders in the industrial and education sectors to support innovation, in order to spur Kenya’s economic growth.

This was during a panel session hosted by KAM in partnership with GIZ, to mark International Day of Education (IDE) 2021.

Speaking during the commemoration, KAM CEO, Ms Phyllis Wakiaga observed that innovation is rapidly evolving the manufacturing sector, bringing with it, new opportunities.

“Industry promotes innovation, productivity and trade, since it consumes a variety of services. Its diversity cuts across different sectors, each with distinct drivers. As manufacturing shifts towards a dynamic phase driven by Industry 4.0, it is poised to create more jobs, increase demand and generate more opportunities for investment in the country. We, therefore, need to ensure curriculum development strives to meet the evolving skills needs for our manufacturing sector,” explained Ms Wakiaga.

Dr Kipkirui Langat, Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) Director General, recognized the need for skills development for a competitive manufacturing sector in the country.

“Developing the right skills set, among young people in the country, shall enable us to drive the competitiveness of Kenya’s manufacturing industry, by providing an enabling environment for production of goods and services for local, regional and global markets. The government is implementing the TVET Act 2013, by promoting access to equity, quality and relevance in training. This will guarantee adequate human capital for economic development. Additionally, we are seeking to train young people   cutting across various sectors including Transport, Agriculture and Energy,” said Dr Langat.

Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) Principal and Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutions (KATTI), Nairobi Region Chair, Mr Sammy Waititu appreciated the need to tailor the TVET curriculum to meet current and future market needs.

“Our mandate, as Technical Training Institutions (TTIs), is to impart skills to accelerate our journey towards becoming an industrialized nation. Previously, our curriculum was largely theoretical. The introduction of the dual training model, where students learn both in class and at the workplace, has been a gamechanger. The graduates are competent, and do not need to be retrained. We need to focus on upgrading our education system and training equipment, to meet the ever-evolving demand from local industry,” noted Mr Waititu.

Delegation of German Industry and Commerce for Eastern Africa Trustee, Secretary of the PWG , and World Skills Kenya Steering Committee Member, Ms Maren Diale- Schellschmidt concluded that if successfully implemented, the dual training model of education shall fill the skills gap Kenya is currently facing.

“The dual training model does not only involve placing graduates on internships but having them work in the companies throughout the training period. Therefore, this means involving industries in the curriculum development process, for technical skills, which are important for both the formal and informal sectors of the economy,” remarked Ms Diale- Schellschmidt.

This year’s International Day of Education (IDE) themed ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’ seeks to enhance collaboration and solidarity for recovery, through innovation, among other pillars.

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