BCIT partners on global initiative to build an agile workforce in Kenya

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has always been at the forefront of connecting education with industry and government to power economic and social growth in Canada. Now, BCIT is expanding this role on a global scale in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation under its Young Africa Works strategy. A collaborative initiative will be established with Vancouver Island University (VIU), North Island College (NIC), Kisii National Polytechnic, and Keroka Technical Training Institute. The joint initiative, Young Africa Works in Kenya: Youth Employability Through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), aims to increase work opportunities for young people, particularly young women.

“For decades, BCIT has been a key driver of strategic workforce development in collaboration with industry and government,” said Todd Odgers, Associate Dean, BCIT International. “We look forward to using our unique expertise in working with partners in Canada and East Africa to build an agile workforce in Kenya that has sustained and meaningful impact.”

The three-year initiative is being implemented by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and alongside the Kenyan Ministry of Education, relevant Kenyan government agencies, and the private sector. The initiative is designed to increase youth workforce participation in Kenya’s Big Four sectors: manufacturing, affordable housing, universal health coverage and food security, and the digital sector. It also seeks to establish and strengthen policies that promote safe learning environments, which include providing gender equality training to administrators and awareness-building workshops for government officials.

The initiative will see the Canadian partner institutions work with Kisii National Polytechnic and Keroka Technical Training Institute to develop new programs in electrical, welding, and mechanical trades.

“We’re developing the courses in close collaboration with our Kenyan partners and putting a focus on competency-based teaching practice,” said Darrell Harvey, Manager of Global Engagement at VIU, the Canadian consortium’s lead partner. “That’s really at the heart of the second phase of this partnership, so our Kenyan colleagues can build internal capacity to support effective teaching and learning in the long- term.”

Between now and 2025, six new competency-based courses will be rolled out at each of the partner institutes in Kenya.

“The partnership will allow us to develop curriculum together, so that we can have common training practices,” said David Mwangi, Principal, Kisii National Polytechnic, who visited the Canadian partner campuses as part of a recent benchmarking visit.

“For our Institute, it is crucial for us to learn about how the Canadian colleges are finding connections with industry and their communities, so that they can develop successful opportunities for students,” said Haron Maosa, Principal, Keroka Technical Training Institute, who also travelled to Canada. “We have explored discussions about funding models and how the relationship between apprentice and journeyman works to inspire and motivate students.”

Through the partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, faculty and students in the programs will have access to the latest technology to gain the hands-on skills they need to be work-ready.

“As Kenya pursues inclusive economic growth, it faces important questions about how to leverage Technical and Vocational Training to prepare its young people for the resultant opportunities. Under Young Africa Works strategy, the Mastercard Foundation is committed to working with TVET institutions, and has therefore partnered with Colleges and Institutes Canada to help them deliver quality, relevant training and to make that training widely accessible,” said Ivy Mwai, Lead, Workforce Development, Mastercard Foundation.

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About the British Columbia Institute of Technology

For more than 55 years, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has been delivering flexible, relevant, and future-proof education that prepares learners to provide applied solutions to industry challenges – across BC and around the world. With five campuses and nearly 50,000 students enrolled each year, BCIT is one of BC’s largest post-secondary institutes. Through its unique applied education model, BCIT is empowering people, shaping BC, and inspiring global progress. Learn more at bcit.ca

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org

About Young Africa Works

Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, across Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work. Africa will have the largest workforce, with 375 million young people entering the labour market by 2030. With the right skills, these young people will contribute to Africa’s overall competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities.

The Mastercard Foundation will implement the Young Africa Works strategy in 10 African countries in partnership with governments, private sector, business leaders, educators, and youth. In the initial phase, the countries identified by the Mastercard Foundation include Rwanda, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.

For more information, please contact: Eleni Constantine White, Lead, Corporate Communications Strategy and Risk Management, Mastercard Foundation, +27 76 166 5372.

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