Dr Amina Mohammed, the CS for Education, presided over the awarding of the participants of Africa Tech Challenge (ATC) Season 4. The CS awarded more than 20 participants who were part of and emerged winners of the challenge that is held every year by AVIC International.
Dubbed ‘Jenga Vijana,’ the fourth edition of Africa Tech Challenge which was launched in November and aimed at empowering the youth through employment creation, sought to advance the participants skills in brick-laying, carpentry and steel works. The challenge attracted hundreds of interested participants from across the country, with 103 being successful and undergoing rigorous training in their selected discipline.
(TOP: Education CS Amina Mohamed, hands a certificate to an elated participant of the just concluded Africa Tech Challenge Season 4 at the awards ceremony in Nairobi. The ceremony saw more than 20 participants receive awards and contracts to work for AVIC International).
Africa Tech Challenge, which is AVIC International’s Youth Empowerment Programme through skills development, saw a partnership with the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives for the fourth season.
Speaking at the event, the CS lauded the efforts made by AVIC International to empower the youth through skills development. She mentioned the importance of technical skills development as the country works towards industrialization. Highlighting the strong partnership between the Ministry and AVIC International, the honorable Cabinet Secretary emphasized the government’s commitment to youth development for industrialization.
“I would like to congratulate the amazing young people that we are here to recognize today. They underwent a demanding rigorous training, and emerged successful,” she continued.
Representing the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Chief Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh commended AVIC International on their efforts to contribute to Kenya’s youth employment agenda and commitment to bringing attention to vocational and technical education. She noted the role that AVIC is playing in facilitating the delivery of this alternative in the Kenyan Education system. She articulated the Ministry’s openness to prospective partnerships with the motivation and insight for programmes aimed at addressing talent gaps and ensuring our youth have the necessary tools to plug into economic life and employees or entrepreneurs, and find a path to success.
“Business cannot thrive where there are no people with the skills, work ethic and commitment to do what needs to be done. Apprenticeship training models are an immense advantage as they ensure that skills and business acumen gained at automatically aligned with the demands and supplies of a dynamic hence rapidly changing society,” she reiterated.
Youth empowerment through skills development is at the core of AVIC International’s Social Investment Agenda. According to Dr Liu Jun, AVIC International’s Executive VP, the company strongly believes in the empowerment of the youth to enable them create employment for themselves and imparting skills that make them ready for the opportunities available in the market.
“Our mission of going ‘Beyond Commerce for a Better World’ guides all the projects that we as a company, get involved in. Our partnership with the Ministry of education, has allowed us the privilege of establishing a TVET program since the year 2010 that has seen us equip more than 60 TTIs and train more than 20,000 trainers. Similarly, with the Ministry of Public Service support in our successful project at the National Youth Service that saw transfer of knowledge through training its operators, technicians and students. We will continue to ensure that youth are well-trained and equipped with the necessary skills,” said Liu Jun.
He added: “We fully support His Excellency’s well thought out action plan driven by the four pillars of affordable health care, manufacturing, food security and affordable housing. As the youth rise up to drive the Manufacturing sector in line with the Big four Agenda, we shall continue to impact the TVET Sector positively.”
On his part, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Dr Liu Xianfa, expressed the Chinese Government’s continuous efforts to advocate for more Chinese companies to create win-win outcomes through transferring technology and know-how among the youth in Kenya.
The challenge saw more than 20 participants receive certification and get confirmed for employment with AVIC International at the site of the Global Trade Centre estimated to be completed by 2022.
The Africa Tech Challenge Project Manager, Lynette Mwende reiterated its support to incorporation of the youth in the development agenda of the nation. “Since its inception, we have been able to train 550 young Kenyans from all over the nation and we have cooperated with 131 TTIs in order to involve as many youth as possible through this initiative. I would like to urge the private sector to join hands with us too and help drive youth empowerment through skills development so as to support the government in achievement of the Big Four agenda”, she said.
She added: “Not only were the winning teams from ATC receiving cash prizes and scholarship opportunities, but the top two teams in Season 1 and Season 3 walked away with a commercial contract worth US $100,000 that went into manufacturing of spare parts for export to China. I am especially proud of this Made In Kenya aspect.”
During the event, the Chinese Ambassador and Dr Francis Aduol, the VC of Technical University of Kenya, signed a US $100, 000 contract. Under the deal, Technical University of Kenya will manufacture and export spare parts to China.
AVIC International in conjunction with the Ministry of Education has established a Vocational Education Training Project since the year 2010. This TVET program entails commissioning, installing and equipping public Technical Training Institutions with mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment.
Africa Tech Challenge(ATC) is a skills-based initiative that arose as a result of the TVET partnership. The challenge has had 4 successful seasons since its inception in June 2014. It is a youth empowerment project which seeks to equip the youth with technical skills, in the form of a training program and competition with the most outstanding participants receiving fully sponsored Masters’ degree scholarship to prestigious universities in China, cash prizes and employment opportunities. All ATC Participants receive certificates to show participation and outline the skills developed during the training which allows them to access internship/ attachment and job opportunities more easily.