Role of Industry-TVET Institution Partnerships in Improving Performance

Role of Industry-TVET Institution Partnerships in Improving Performance

By Hazel Faith Gacheri

Allow me to begin this write-up with this punchline, “The outputs of the TVET institutions are the inputs of the industries”. To lay further emphasis, a report by UNESCO reiterates that the improvement of training systems referred to the need to forge closer links between training and the labor market (UNESCO, 2019). The dynamic and interconnected nature of the world makes it mandatory to position TVET as one of the principal drivers for sustainability, progress, poverty alleviation, and improved quality of life.

The role of TVET is increasingly being recognized in a world where more and more countries are facing high levels of youth unemployment. Many reasons have been pointed out on the causes of thin. Allow me to be dramatic for effect and call it… pandemic. Skills gap and mismatch coming out as a top contributing factor. We are moving from a society that asks ‘what papers have you got’ to ‘what can you do?’, and therein lies the main problem. Skills formation systems such as the TVET institutions are key stakeholders in developing trainees who can fit to the industry demands for specific skills.

There is a shift in skills requirements due to the rapid changes in the labor market, the technological advancement, and persistent social inequalities that keep reshaping the labor market. The reputation of TVET institutions is dependent on their ability to produce qualified young people who will be immediately operational in the workplace. This, therefore, necessitates collaboration between TVET institutions and the industry to provide relevant practical skills.

An effective TVET system cannot be built if there is a chasm between education and “the world of work”. This needs serious engagements to come up with a model that is beneficial to both the institution and industry as it cannot be a one way fits all model, though a general framework as proposed in the Kenya vision 2030 and TVET strategy (2018-2022) is a push in the right direction.

As I unpack this, I speak from an institution that is privileged to be a beneficiary of this collaboration. Our partners: East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), CMC Motors, ISUZU Kenya, just to mention a few have stepped in, in a big way. This is through skills upgrading for the trainers, training infrastructure, materials and facilities, internship, and attachment placement for trainees.

Staff of Kombolcha Polytechnic College in Ethiopia during industrial attachment

I laud the Meru National Polytechnic management because as daunting the process to secure an MOU they have not tired. This has incredibly improved the quality of training producing a labor force that is competent in skills, knowledge, and work ethics.

The opportunities, possibilities, and impact of the industry-institution partnerships are unimaginable, what they can birth! leaves me shaken. From developing innovation centers, Research and Development (RD) workshops, to increased productivity due to skilled labor, industries having an opportunity to tailor their employees saving on acclimatization costs, curriculum upgrading…etc.

This, therefore, is a call and a challenge to all stakeholders to get this conversation moving.

I am a beneficiary of the East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP) TVET scholarship 2021/2022, to pursue a Masters in Civil Engineering and Construction Management at Zhengzhou University.

The Building and Civil Engineering Department at Meru National Polytechnic is the regional flagship TVET Institute as a center of excellence in East Africa for Building Infrastructure. EASTRIP targets to tackle one of the main contributors to unemployment which is skills shortage and mismatch through myriad ways one of which is upgrading skills and transfer of knowledge of the trainers. It is through this initiative that I find myself, studying in China, which has made tremendous strides in the construction industry having been awarded over 70% of Kenya’s large public sector infrastructure projects in the past decade.

The Building and Construction industry is not one to overlook, in Kenya, it contributes to 7% of the gross domestic product (GDP), with economic growth averaging over 5% per annum over the past ten years and employing over one million people. More to that, there are many transport and infrastructure projects rolled out in the region such as The Northern Corridor Integration Project (NCIP), Central Transport Corridor Project, and the Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia – Transport (LAPSSET) are avenues the institution is positioning to leverage for opportunities.

With my background in Mechatronics Engineering which is fast-paced in terms of technology advancement, it’s an added advantage when it comes to understanding modern construction technologies, innovations, and further exploration of the integration of automation and robotics in the construction field. The knowledge, skills, and expertise I am gaining are critical to the industry and the world of academia.

My area of interest for research is in Building Information Modelling (BIM) integration in the Construction Industry with a bias for SMEs that account for 3% of the GDP. This is a fairly new technology that can address some of the main challenges faced in the industry such as cost escalation, delayed completion, collapse/ site abandonment, and financial losses that result due to lack of adequate coordination and management; these completely cripple the SMEs running most out of business. This can be easily resolved by the use of BIM which can help with scheduling and planning as well as communication and collaboration which can lead to better productivity.


The Writer is a Mechatronics Engineer and Lecturer at Meru National Polytechnic College. She is also a Student in Masters in Civil Engineering and Construction Management (Zhengzhou University) under the EASTRIP-China TVET Scholarship 2021/2022


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