African Tech Chal­lenge gar­ners praise for Avic

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - By EDITH MUTETHYA edith­mutethya@chi­nadaily.com.cn

An ini­tia­tive by Avic In­ter­na­tional Hold­ing Corp, a di­ver­si­fied Chi­nese busi­ness group, to em­power Kenyan stu­dents through skills devel­op­ment un­der its African Tech Chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tion has won praise from se­nior Kenyan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Launched in 2014, the pro­gram aims to equip the youths with tech­ni­cal skills via a train­ing pro­gram and com­pe­ti­tion, with out­stand­ing par­tic­i­pants re­ceiv­ing fully spon­sored mas­ter’s de­gree schol­ar­ships to pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties in China, as well as cash prizes and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The ATC com­pe­ti­tion has had four suc­cess­ful sea­sons so far, with Avic In­ter­na­tional train­ing 550 youths and co­op­er­at­ing with 131 tech­ni­cal train­ing in­sti­tutes.

Speak­ing dur­ing the award cer­e­mony of the com­pe­ti­tion’s fourth sea­son, Amina Mo­hammed, cab­i­net sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of In­dus­try, Trade and Co­op­er­a­tives, said the African Tech Chal­lenge is an im­por­tant tool be­cause it demon­strates the out­comes of an ef­fec­tive tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing sys­tem.

She noted the African Tech Chal­lenge was con­ceived to raise aware­ness about the di­ver­si­fied op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, which pro­vides a ve­hi­cle for gain­ful em­ploy­ment or self-em­ploy­ment.

“This amaz­ing jour­ney has been help­ing the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion to achieve the aims of spear­head­ing and en­hanc­ing in­te­gra­tion of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion by de­vel­op­ing hu­man ca­pac­ity, sci­ence, en­gi­neer­ing and ca­pac­ity,” she said.

Amina noted that ini­tia­tives like the African Tech Chal­lenge pro­vide great op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses, man­u­fac­tur­ers and the pri­vate sec­tor to en­hance their chances for pros­per­ity.

“My min­istry, in co­op­er­a­tion with Avic In­ter­na­tional, will work to­ward ex­pand­ing the ATC com­pe­ti­tion to more dis­ci­plines in line with the la­bor mar­ket’s de­mand for skills,” she said.

Rachel Shebesh, chief ad­min­is­tra­tive sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Pub­lic Ser­vice, Youth and Gen­der Af­fairs, ap­plauded Avic In­ter­na­tional for the role it’s play­ing in fa­cil­i­tat­ing the de­liv­ery of skills devel­op­ment within the Kenyan ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

“I com­mend the ef­fort and con­tri­bu­tion by Avic In­ter­na­tional to Kenya’s youth em­ploy­ment agenda and the com­mit­ment the com­pany has shown in bring­ing at­ten­tion to vo­ca­tional and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion,” she said.

Shebesh said em­ploy­ers feel more con­fi­dent when hir­ing grad­u­ates of vo­ca­tional pro­grams, be­cause they know these grad­u­ates are ready to work and pro­mote en­trepreneur­ship.

Ke­vit De­sai, prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, said: “It’s my hope that the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Avic In­ter­na­tional and the Kenyan gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to grow to the log­i­cal con­clu­sion. I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing Avic com­plete the equip­ping and com­mis­sion­ing of the re­main­ing (tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing) in­sti­tu­tions,” he said.

In 2010, Avic In­ter­na­tional, in con­junc­tion with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, es­tab­lished the Vo­ca­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing Project. This tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing pro­gram en­tails com­mis­sion­ing pub­lic tech­ni­cal train­ing in­sti­tu­tions and pro­vid­ing them with equip­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Liu Jun, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of Avic In­ter­na­tional, the train­ing project has seen Avic equip more than 60 tech­ni­cal train­ing in­sti­tu­tions and train more than 20,000 youths.

“Avic be­lieves in em­pow­er­ment of the youth to en­able them, to cre­ate em­ploy­ment and to im­part skills that make them ready for the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in the mar­ket,” he said.

Liu said they will con­tinue to work with the gov­ern­ment to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for work­ing with the youths to ad­vance their skills.

Speak­ing dur­ing the same event, Liu Xianfa, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Kenya, said the em­bassy will con­tinue to work dili­gently with Kenyan uni­ver­si­ties to pro­mote en­roll­ment in tech­ni­cal in­sti­tu­tions.

“We strongly be­lieve that great op­por­tu­ni­ties for eco­nomic devel­op­ment and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion lie in tak­ing an ac­tive role in em­pow­er­ing the youth with the tech­ni­cal skills that will al­low them to meet la­bor mar­ket de­mands, con­se­quently lib­er­at­ing them from un­em­ploy­ment,” he said.

Af­ter the fourth sea­son of the African Tech Chal­lenge, 25 of the 103 par­tic­i­pants were con­firmed for em­ploy­ment with Avic.

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