COL’s Skills in Demand model was introduced in Africa to sixteen institutes from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia in a workshop held in Nairobi in June 2019. Participants spanned those focused on industry and community liaison, business development, research and innovation, flexible and distance learning, and lecturers of relevant vocational courses. Government representatives from Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia also attended.
All of the institutes have worked with COL over the last nine years and expressed interest in implementing workplace learning in combination with open and distance learning. The workshop introduced the four key elements of the model and how COL could provide further support for implementation.
Dr Meshack Opwora, Director of Kenya’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Directorate, opened the workshop. He noted the relevance of COL’s model for helping Kenya solve its TVET challenges and said, “Right now Kenyan TVET institutions have more students than they can cope with and are having to put up tents outside their buildings to give students somewhere to study. And we plan to train five million more people by 2022, so we need models like this that enable us to scale up TVET without building new buildings.”
Two TVET-focused organisations supported the workshop. International Labour Organization Skills Coordinator Mr Albert Okal facilitated a session on workplace learning and shared his experience of formalising informal apprenticeships in Tanzania. The Colleges and Institutes of Canada Senior Technical Advisor Mr Mortiz Schmidt facilitated the session on competency-based education and training and shared his experience from the Kenya Education for Employment Program. Other sessions covered open and distance learning, the use of technology, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
Ms Terry Neal, COL’s Education Specialist: Technical and Vocational Skills Development said, “I was so encouraged to see everyone’s enthusiasm for working closely with industry and communities so that their learners are more likely to find decent work after they study, and a strong belief in the room that workplace learning plus ODL models can overcome many of the challenges facing TVET in Africa, which they are experiencing first hand.”
The Skills in Demand model relies on educational institutions working closely with industry partners for training. Participants said they particularly valued learning how to engage more effectively with industry.