The College of the Rockies is partnering with other post-secondary institutions to support a youth employment program in Kenya.
COTR, along with the B.C. Institute of Technology and Lakeland College, has been selected to support the Young Africa Works in Kenya: Youth Employability Through Technical and Vocation Education and Training (Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET) program.
The $1.8 million program strengthens and supports technical and vocational education and training at four institutions in Kenya’s Northern Rift Valley — Eldoret National Polytechnic, Kitale National Polytechnic, Lodwar Vocational Training Centre, and Baringo Technical College.
Over the next three years, the Canadian post-secondary institutions will help with introducing 24 training programs aimed at producing work-ready graduates, expand industry engagement, facilitate trainer exchanges between Kenya and Canada, and help strengthen gender equality and inclusion efforts.
“We have a long history of supporting educational needs in East Africa and look forward to continuing this work alongside BCIT and Lakeland College,” said Paul Vogt, College of the Rockies President and CEO. “Education is key to growing industry in Africa and to creating sustainable careers for young African women and men and we’re excited to play a role in creating these opportunities.”
The Young Africa Works in Kenya-TVET initiative was created out of a partnership between Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and the Mastercard Foundation as part of a five-year initiative (2020-2025) with the Kenyan Ministry of Education, relevant Kenyan agencies, and the private sector.
The program is tailored towards increasing youth participating in manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health coverage and food security — Kenya’s ‘Big Four’ sectors. It is also aimed at establishing and strengthening polices and procedures promoting safe learning environments, providing gender equality training to administrators, and awareness building workshops for government officials.
“Young Africa Works in Kenya aims to enable five million young people to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030. Strengthening the delivery of technical and vocational training – and ensuring it is accessible and reflective of private sector demand – is key to that. We are excited to partner with College of the Rockies to advance inclusive and relevant access to skills training opportunities that transform and improve young people’s lives,” said Daniel Hailu, Regional Head, East and Southern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation.
Kerry Brinkert, Manager of International Projects and Partnerships for the College, celebrated the partnership.
“Young Africa Works is an opportunity for us to build on over a decade of project experience in this region,” said Brinkert. “We look forward to both supporting our new Kenyan partners and learning a great deal from them.”
The College’s participation in Young Africa Works in Kenya will enable additional trades instructors and other College employees to share their expertise with Kenyan partners while enhancing their intercultural competencies and global awareness.
“From past projects in Africa, we have seen how valuable international engagement is for our instructors,” said Dean of Trades and Technologies, Jack Moes. “When they return from an international assignment, our faculty bring home new perspectives and a heightened ability to teach in our increasingly diversified classrooms at the College.”