Kenya government banking on youth to drive industrialization

The Government is banking on technical training to achieve Vision 2030 economic plan. The Cabinet Secretary for Industry Adan Mohamed says Kenya’s vibrant youthful population is expected to play a key role in accelerating economic growth by stimulating industrial growth.

He said the government in investing heavily in technical and vocational training and education (TVET) among youth to arm them with the necessary technical skills to spur innovation which is a prerequisite for industrialisation.

(TOP: Permanent Working Group on TVET chair Kevit Desai listens to a Centurion staff hihglight the features of automated industrial switches at the Skills Show held as part of the Hands On The Future National Conference on TVET).

Speaking at the ongoing Hands on The Future National TVET Conference in Nairobi, Mr Mohamed said the government had pumped Kshs 2.5 billion into revitalising technical institutions and is set to increase budgetary allocations to the sector in the next financial year.

“TVET has been critical in the transformation of many economies and poverty eradication,” he said. “That’s why as a country we need to retool our economic and social policies to have inclusive and sustainable economic.”

The TVET conference and skills show have brought together public and private sector players to deliberate on how to remodel technical training to meet the modern economy’s labour demands of technological innovation and flexibility. “Without innovation,” he said, “industrialization will not happen and development will thus not be achieved.”

He said the textile industry, for example, requires over 20,000 machinists over the next 12 months, an indication of the skills gaps in the market. He said with a pool of highly qualified technical personnel, Kenya would reap from a shift in global labour trends that is expected to see over 100 million jobs move from China to other countries as the cost of labour increases in the Asian economic power house.

Speaking at the event, Dr Kevit Desai, the chairman of the Permanent Working Group (PWG) on TVET, which has organised the conference with TVET Authority, said there are gaps for critical skills in the Kenyan economy, which need to be filled to have sustainable growth. “We want private sector to work with academia to produce relevant skills while the government should provide enabling policy environment and funding,” he said.

The conference, which opened on Thursday, ends on Saturday January 28.

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