22 February 2013

Kenya: HF Foundation to Nurture Artisans

Nairobi — The Housing Finance Foundation has signed a strategic collaboration with Vision 2030 Delivery Board (VDB) to facilitate the creation of one million artisans in the region by 2016 through partnership with relevant ministries, departments and agencies charged with implementing Vision 2030 flagship projects.

The initiative, dubbed 'army of 1 million artisans flagship project,' will focus on upgrading the skills of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions for sustainable economic development.

The project was officially launched by President Mwai Kibaki in Eldoret earlier this month and the partnership makes Housing Finance the first private firm to spearhead a Vision 2030 flagship project through its newly formed Housing Finance Foundation.

Housing Finance Foundation (HFF) is a subsidiary of Housing Finance, whose objectives are to create a strong social investment arm to complement its economic value.

Vision 2030 CEO Mugo Kibati said the collaboration will aim to develop industry relevant technical skills through the coordination and collaboration between the Vision Board and the Housing Finance Foundation.

"VDB will collaborate with Housing Finance Foundation in capacity building, benchmarking, technology and knowledge transfer, through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training programs involved in Vision 2030," he said.

Housing Finance Managing Director Frank Ireri said the Foundation will launch a Youth Account centred on entrepreneurship, building and crafting as they attempt to create an "Army of 1 Million Artisans" for Kenya and the region.

"Housing Finance Foundation intends to employ the prevailing global practices and globally recognised techniques and technology to achieve this goal," he emphasised.

Ireri explained that the project will ultimately prepare the students for gainful employment.

"Technical and Vocational Education and Training is the weakest link in the entire education system yet we require a skilled workforce to roll out projects identified in Vision 2030," he said.

"Considerable investments in physical facilities and strong industry partnerships will be made to bring about learning which links technical training with economic expansion. The campaign is expected to create a vibrant small and medium sized enterprises sector with growth potential and employment opportunities for qualified skilled workers," he added.

He revealed that the programme will provide training for artisans with no formal training.

"Housing Finance intends to develop a data bank of certified artisans which firms can refer to when sourcing for various services. The campaign will support the implementation of The Technical and Vocational Education and Training bill, 2012," he explained.

The bill seeks to institute a mechanism for promoting access and equity in training to assure standards, quality and relevance, as it seeks to shift TVET from time-bound, curriculum-based training to flexible and competency-based training.

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