Energy and petroleum regulatory authority, (EPRA) has donated digital literacy devices worth Ksh.3Million to St Teresa Isanjiro polytechnic in Malava Sub County.

As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandate to contribute to sustainable development by supporting educational causes, the regulator Director General David Kiptoo Bargoria said EPRA was out to assist vocational colleges through such donations as they were the consumers of the blue collar jobs.

He said technical and vocational training was key in the country’s economic growth and the donations were part of its initiative to digitize the students as the world was becoming a global village where everything was computerized.

The organization hailed to county government for its mandate to set up county polytechnics in each ward to enable students who do not make it to universities to undertake technical courses at the institutions

As we all know, he continued, technical and vocational education and training has been on demand in today’s society due to its technical and hands-on nature that has become the backbone of many of our families and country at large. The demand for these blue collar jobs  is high even as the job market shifts in favour of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and Mathematics) calls for increased investment in young people to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to keep up with the ever-evolving technology within the globe.

The Director said by supporting technical skills training, they were also equipping the youths with practical and necessary skills that will not only enable them to secure employment but also help them to be self-employed. This is a sustainable way of empowering them to contribute positively to the economy and society.

In deed the 2020 National TVET standards report developed by the technical and vocational education and training authority (TVETA) revealed that resource constraints are among the challenges facing the TVET ecosystem in the country and by donating these computers to this institution, we are offering our support by availing ICT equipment needed to support students enrolled in computer repair and maintenance courses or their equivalent.

The National environment management authority

(NEMA) alongside other stakeholders flag electronic waste, commonly referred to as e-waste, as one of the fastest-growing waste components globally, in the region and in Kenya. The Authority reports that an estimated 51,000 tons of e-waste are generated in the country annually.

This points to a big problem that needs multi-stakeholder action before it grows further.

On our end, we are giving these tools a new lease on life and contributing to preserving our environment.

He concluded by thanking the management of the institution for partnering with them on this initiative and for their efforts to equip young people with the appropriate skills needed to grow the digital economy.

On his part the St. Teresa’s Malava vocational training centre Principal Boniface Mukabwa confirmed that they had emerged as the winner out of seven proposed TVET institutions that applied for the equipment donation and lauded the authority for honoring its proposal.

The principal appreciated the organization efforts to ensure that the institution benefits from this initiative  as it meets several technical qualifications including demonstrating a resource gap for ICT equipment and being inclusive in their enrolment and operations.

Mukabwa further called on other wiling stakeholders to partner with vocational training institutions to provide resources which result in improved delivery of the training curriculum.

The Kakamega county executive committee member (CECM) Godfrey Owour said by the regulator donating the ICT equipment not only supports the training of the youth but also helps to reduce electronic waste and promotes responsible environmental practices.

Owour pointed out that the county was committed to ensure that vocational training was available to all the youths and will be given property for employment once they complete their training.

He called on more youngsters to embrace the blue collar jobs as it had ready job market compared to the white collar on that was already overcrowded.

The county is embracing these kind of technical skills and we are ready to accommodate those who complete their courses as their skills and manpower is needed at the county level, let us have more plumbers’ masons, carpenters mechanics, welders and other hands on trainee to fill the busting job market from the county to the national level and even beyond, ad that is why we are sponsoring students to undertake these courses.

By Wycliffe Andabwa

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