On 12th May 2022, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) in partnership with the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprises (NHO) met with targeted FKE Members from Technical Vocational & Training Institutions (TVETs) and various Industries at Sarova Woodlands Hotel and Spa, Nakuru. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the recommendations of the study on Industry and Training Partnership Framework which encourages and advocates for effective cooperation between TVETs and industries to enhance linkages and partnerships.
The main concern expressed by stakeholders from industries and TVETs is lack of relevance of TVET development and the outcome to industry largely because industry is not actively and systematically involved in matters of TVET. Partnerships between industries and TVET institutions have been advocated for even in the Industrial Training Act, CAP 237 Laws of Kenya. However, there has been minimal action taken to enhance these linkages. FKE has taken up the initiative to develop a Framework for enhancing industry – training partnership as this is one of the key reform issues in the development of quality, relevant and demand-driven technical vocational education and training (TVET) in Kenya. The Framework developed by FKE was presented to the key stakeholders representing TVETs and Industries during the Nakuru workshop.
In the findings, the absence of a strategy, poor communication between the TVETs and industries and poor TVET institution management are the three major areas obscuring effective linkages to enhance these partnerships. The recommendations of the study indicate the need to strengthen leadership and enhance the autonomy of TVET Institutions to make the partnerships succeed. Further, the establishment of effective communication strategies would be important to enhance the s partnerships as envisaged.
Ms. Aina Bredsen, NHO Senior Advisor, shared the success of Norwegian Vocational Education and Training (VETs) and Partnership with the industry through apprenticeship. Post the vocational training, the student goes through a two-year apprenticeship period which gives the Apprentice an opportunity to gather practical and relevant skills in their vocational field. The apprenticeship is approved and formalized via a signed contract between the apprentice and the training enterprise. Ms. Bredsen also echoed that social partner representatives from organizations, industry and the public sector handle the decision-making system for upper secondary VET. This gives opportunity for the curriculum to be adjusted to that which is of use in the field depending on technological innovation and new machinery.
TVETs and Industries in the Rift Valley region had an opportunity to interact during a question-and-answer session. Different issues arose, predominantly on a curriculum review in TVETs to match industry needs, joint meetings of Social Partners, businesses, and TVETs to come up with formalized Memorandum’s of Understanding for seamless linkages between and ensuring that TVETs are embracing the fast-paced technological innovations.
The workshop ended on a high note with TVETs and Industry resolving to work together to develop a strategy to be implemented by the main players; industry, TVET institutions, and government (national and county) to improve partnerships. FKE is committed to the realization of a more structured Industry-Training Partnership arrangement to address the current skill gaps.