BEIJING -- The AVIC International, a Chinese diversified business group in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, on Thursday launched the fifth season of Africa Tech Challenge (ATC) aimed at empowering the youth in technical training institutions with practical skills.
Additionally, the three most outstanding participants will be awarded with Scholarships to study in China so as to specialize in their skills and gain more knowledge and technical expertise.
AVIC International will empower the participants by providing technical training in CNC Lathe Machining techniques and Mechatronics Engineering for a period of 45 days at the Technical University of Kenya and Kenya Technical Trainers College respectively. In line with Kenya's Big Four Agenda, the challenge supports the nation's goal of ensuring that the East African country has readily available skilled labor to steer the manufacturing sector forward.
Hosted under the Kenya's Ministry of Education, ATC is working with various educational institutions in Africa to increase and develop professional skills. This initiative will train 27 teams that will see at least 108 young men and women across the continent get specialized expertise.
According to Jin Yetao, Director of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), AVIC International Holding Corporation in Kenya, the company has successfully held four ATC professional skills contests through a specialized process, where they train youth on current and future required skills.
"Our aim is to promote development of professional skills education in Africa, adapt to international standards, and connect with the world's highest-level of professional skills," he said.
Jin said ATC's strategy is informed by Kenya's Vision 2030 goal of transforming the nation into an industrializing economy.
"Training is at the core of the challenge and we kick off with training 27 teams, out of which 23 will come from technical training institutions in various parts of Kenya. The remaining four teams will come from technical institutions from Ghana, Zambia, Cote d'Ivoire and Gabon, making this challenge truly an African contest," he said.
Jin said the partnership with Ministry of Education has enabled them to successfully carry out ATC and train the youth in the past seasons which is in line with the government's plan to empower the tertiary institutions and increase access to TVET.
"Through improving the technical education sector we have been upgrading the practical skills of students pursuing technical courses in Kenya to meet the needs of the country in its growth and industrialization. Kenya and Africa as a whole presents a very great opportunity for us to exploit the potential of the youth and we are always happy to be part of this journey," he said.
Dr. Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Education's State Department of TVET said the ministry is committed to ensuring provision of the right skills and competencies for national development.
"We are proud to partner with ATC as it supports the ministry in offering young people an opportunity to get equipped with relevant and quality skills to meet the needs of the labour market," he said.
Dr. Desai said ATC responds to the need for youth empowerment in efforts to drive the industrial revolution in the continent.
"ATC also provides support as a TVET partner to the Ministry of Education so as to create sustainability and longevity in this project," he said.
The challenge has had four successful seasons since its inception in June 2014. It is a youth empowerment program that seeks to equip the youth with technical skills, in the form of a training then a competition whereby all ATC participants receive certificates to show participation plus outline the skills gained during training which allows them to easily access internship or attachment and job opportunities.
Lynette Mwende, Public Policy, Advocacy and Strategy at AVIC International Project Engineering Company Limited said ATC is a dream come true not only for the ministry of education but also for Avic International.
"ATC has been a fulfilled dream and a great milestone, we see great vision from the talents that we continue to nurture in ATC. Through the program, I have seen young African advance their skills and take their career to the next level," she says.
Mwende said AVIC is committed to working with the youth and imparting them with skills so that they can empower others. (Source: China Daily)