Meru Polytechnic in partnership with TVET Institutes for joint marketing activities

Meru Polytechnic in partnership with TVET Institutes for joint marketing activities

By: Joseph Orina

The Meru National Polytechnic (MNP) is a government institution under the Ministry of Education (MoE) Kenya, with a core mandate to provide Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Currently, the World Bank is financing the establishment and implementation of an East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), which involves three East African countries along the Northern Transport Corridor including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The World Bank competitively picked The Meru National Polytechnic as a regional flagship TVET institution for EASTRIP in Building and Construction Technology.

Group photo: Front row, principals of the 5 non-project TVET institutions with the Chief Principal Meru National Polytechnic RFTI. Back row: Registrars and Heads of departments Building and Constructions departments

The sixth component is the outreach to non-project TVETs in the country. Now we ask ourselves why is outreach an important component in a World Bank-funded project? And the answer is quite simple, to mentor other institutions.

The EASTRIP well understands the importance of mentoring and thus made it a compulsory item in the project implementation. Mentorship and outreach have many benefits, one of which is to provide knowledge and skills in TVET training and management. Through upgraded skills for the RFTI, the outreach institutions have been able to benefit also in strengthening their training and management.  Secondly, the outreach institutions have improved since they can freely consult the RTFI. Thirdly, they have been able to broaden their professional network and made training easy and more enjoyable. Finally, the outreach institutions are encouraged to have strategic development goals since they can now participate in experience sharing.

The Meru National Polytechnic RFTI has also taken bold initiatives in marketing and communication campaigns to attract TVET graduates. In May 2021, the polytechnic marketing department carried out a countrywide door to door campaign on the popularization of TVET courses. The team comprised of 50% female staff whose main interest was to talk to girls and make them understand that TVET courses are the best for them to grow economically. In the same exercise, the EASTRIP funded the production of 12,000 brochures, 500 notebooks, 500 bags, 500 pens and 50 t-shirts that were used to attract attention and help the team explain the importance of TVET courses.

Social media marketing was also an important tool that was used to reach out to East African Countries. Social Media algorithms allowed us to specify where we wanted to advertise our courses. With this, we managed to reach out to 20,000 East Africans and managed to get 100 raw leads with contacts and emails that are being used to individually contact the interested potential students.

Signing MoU with Mukiria Technical Training Institute

The EASTRIP has already conducted outreach programmes to both secondary and primary schools through the Women in Technical Education and Development (WITED) club that addressed the following areas:

  • Demystifying the notion that science and technical courses are difficult.
  • Enlightening on career opportunities available in science and technical courses.
  • Role modelling by having trainees in SET courses address students and pupils.
  • Creation of the right attitude in SET related subjects

The club was also facilitated to training on simple income-generating activities focusing on older ladies but incorporating the younger ones namely:

  • Simple construction block making
  • Yoghurt making
  • Hydroponic/Soilless farming
  • Detergent Making…With one trainee picking up and is now running a company dealing with the same.
  • Energy-saving Jikos and Fireless Cooking
  • Manicure and Pedicure

In addition to the above initiatives, the RFTI is developing curriculums that are gender-responsive and relevant in the 21st Century. The Polytechnic has focused on developing short courses that entirely support a safe building and construction industry. One of the courses is Balustrade technology level 4. The curriculums that have been developed focuses on both steel and wood balustrades. This is an area that can utilize the strength to detail and aesthetics that is innate in ladies and thus achieve safety and beauty at the same time. They will be in a position to design, fabricate and fix the balustrades.

The RFTI is now focusing on preparation, documentation and implementation of the international students’ guidelines, admission procedures, orientation and safety guides. We are studying possible construction industry courses that can be delivered through eLearning techniques. This will enable the RFTI to reduce the cost of training students who come from other East African Countries.

The RFTI has put in place plans to answer the following pertinent questions in TVET. What is TVET why is it important? What do we mean by the supply and demand for skills? What is the relationship between skills, jobs, productivity and economic growth? Where will people find the jobs of the future? What does progression mean in education and skills? Why is work experience important?  What skills are employers looking for? What do we mean by work-related skills, life skills, and entrepreneurship skills? What is the TVET Law, what changes will it bring and how will it affect learners, employers and those people working in the system? How do people access TVET provision now and how will this differ in the future? Who pays for TVET? We anticipate answering these questions by selecting the most appropriate marketing strategy.

The Writer is the EASTRIP Project Communications Officer at The Meru National Polytechnic

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