Categories Education

TVETs Told To Partner With Industry Player To Commercialize Innovations To Generate Income

State Department for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Principal Secretary Dr Esther Mworia has urged Technical Training Institutes to embrace innovation as one way to boost skills development.

Dr Mworia challenged Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes to commercialize innovations invented by their students and tutors to enable them to tap their full potential in generating revenue.

She urged students and instructors at TVETs to forge powerful collaborations with the business sector to translate research findings into industrial resources to create wealth and jobs.

To achieve this, she said TVETs should deliberately march towards becoming the springboards of economic development in the country.

Speaking at the Nyayo Gardens in Nakuru during the Kenya National TVET Fair, Innovations and Skills Competition the PS observed that TVETs carry a weighty responsibility as a catalyst for socio-economic development through the creation of new knowledge, research and
innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship, and the eventual commercialization of outputs emanating from these initiatives.

‘Our TVETs need to play a more proactive role in supporting an innovation ecosystem, especially through recognition of innovation that can be patented.

Commercialization of research is a common practice in most parts of the world where the private sector partners with universities and technical training institutes to develop innovations in sectors such as medicine and engineering, earning technical training institutes and universities extra revenue,’ added the PS.

Dr Mworia noted that the future of TVETs in the country was promising as the sector has embarked on various reforms, among them transition to the Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) curriculum.

‘The CBET curriculum has been developed to respond to current labour market demands and quick evolution of technology to solve the issue of unemployment in the country. The government started by building the capacity of t
utors at the Kenya Technical Training College (KTTC) so that they can be well equipped to roll out a massive pre-service and in-serving training programme for all trainers,’ Dr Mworia said.

She urged TVET boards of governors to source for grants and sponsorship for top innovators in their respective institutions to fund inventions.

Over 300 students from more than 30 TVETs showcased their innovations in the two-day event that was themed ‘TVET for sustainable development and science, technology and innovation for economic resilience’.

Dr Mworia said it is vital and urgent that Kenyan institutions endeavour to inculcate an entrepreneurial mindset among students to not only make them ready for the job market, but more importantly to catalyze a paradigm shift from seeking formal employment to being job-creators and employers by utilizing their creative and innovative abilities.

The event was organised by the Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutes (KATTI).

Acknowledging that science, technology an
d innovations are major drivers and enablers of social and economic transformation, the PS pointed out that applying knowledge and innovation is necessary to attain sustainable economic growth and competitiveness.

She said this reality is urgent in case of emerging challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and its adverse effects on the social and economic fabric of the country and the negative impact of climate change.

Dr Mworia noted that research accelerates innovation adding that countries that embrace it have secured a favourable position in a knowledge-intensive, globally competitive marketplace.

The PS indicated that innovative technologies incubated in research labs and businesses should focus on the key sectors of the economy, among them agriculture, tourism, ICT, and manufacturing.

She stated that the county government should initiate partnerships with the private sector to help sponsor top innovators.

TVETs, she added, must be facilitated to create links between learners and industry players to
enable them to advance their innovative ideas and get industrial exposure.

‘Proper policies and guidelines will help TVETs undertake quality research because, through such initiatives, students will tackle challenges like joblessness, illnesses and drought among others. Partnerships with industry players are key in unlocking the innovation potential of many learners in the country,’ Dr Mworia stressed.

She advised TVETs to put in place innovation entrepreneurship and technology hubs to mentor and incubate innovators, adding that research holds the key to unlocking the country’s industrial potential.

The PS underscored the importance of partnerships between TVETs and Youth Polytechnics with private companies towards equipping students with hands-on skills in an industry setting during their time of study.

This, she said, would bridge the skills gap among TVET graduates by ensuring that students spend at least 50 percent of their training working with relevant industries.

‘We need to explore a model where
students are subjected to a combination of theory and practical training, in a real-life work environment through an interchange of training at a TVET institute and in a company,’ Mworia said.

Dr Mworia pointed out that close links between enterprises and training centres have been at the core of the Western World’s economic success since the 19th century.

The PS challenged technical institutes to partner with other stakeholders to further research and innovations.

She said Research and Innovation are key in providing solutions to the country’s problems and more so key drivers in attaining fourth and eighth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

‘Importance of TVETs in SDGs is emphasized on attaining quality education that equips students with lifelong skills to enable them secure decent jobs,’ said Dr Mworia.

As the world moves to the industrial and technological revolution, the PS said there was need for technical institutions and stakeholders to retool the curriculum to align with the current and futur
e industrial needs.

She said reengineering training would provide trainers and trainees with the in-demand skills needed by employers to thrive in their businesses.

‘The rapid change in technology and industrial revolution require us to retool, rescale, remodify our training to be able to meet the demand of the required skills in the industry,’ the PS pointed out.

According to Dr Mworia, the new skills set for the future world of work can be identified through research and analysis of trends in skills requirements.

She observed that the TVET Act 2013 provides for continuous development where teachers are expected to retrain so as to be able to retain the students.

‘In addition to attaching students, we’re also looking at how teachers can also go for attachment every three years so that they’re equipped with new technology in TVETS and industries,’ she said.

Dr Mworia noted that aligning training with industrial needs can have a ripple effect on the economy because businesses are likely to expand and cre
ate new jobs if they are able to find the talents they need.

‘Skills that are acquired through TVET can provide solutions to society, improve on national development, food security and other spheres of life.’

We expect to see technical institutions producing research papers looking into the skills required in the future and the labour market trends,’ she added.

Further the PS mentioned that equipping trainers and training with current knowledge on the effects of industrialization on climate change would promote creation of ‘green’ jobs to reduce pollution in the environment.

She confirmed that the State Department has created a good collaboration in linking with industries and partnering with other countries that have empowered the TVET sector and this has created strong partnerships with industries therefore ensuring that the skills trainees in TVET acquire are precisely what employers are seeking.

‘It has been proven that by collaborating closely with industries, it has bridged the gap between training
and employment, ensuring that our graduates are well-prepared for the workforce,’

The PS appealed to industry partners to open their doors to collaboration with TVET institutions saying that their active involvement in shaping the training programmes, offering internships, apprenticeships, and mentorship opportunities can make a profound impact on the future of the country’s industrialization agenda.

Source: Kenya News Agency