In a move geared towards improving the level of skill-sets in the country's engineering sector, Samsung Electronics East Africa has joined hands with the Technical University of Kenya to launch an air conditioning and refrigeration engineering academy at the institution.
The academy will equip students with hands-on skills in the repair and maintenance of air conditioning and refrigeration units with the aim of offering practical training and therefore creating opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.
Speaking during the launch, Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary, Adan Mohamed, lauded Samsung's efforts in actively participating in skills-sharing programmes, which he said are critical to Kenya's economic and social development.
"As we position ourselves for greater sustained economic growth, we foresee a need for specialized technical skills, which will not only ensure that we have trained labour and entrepreneurs, but also ensure that consumers who require repair and maintenance services can acquire them from professionally trained personnel," said Mohamed.
The facility is an extension of the Samsung Engineering Academy that was set-up in 2012 at the Woodvale Centre in Westlands to address the technical and engineering skills shortage in Kenya and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Samsung's main goal is to develop 10,000 Electronics Engineers across Africa by 2015 by exposing them to the necessary vocational training.
Kenya has for years had to grapple with a worrying unemployment burden as unemployment stands at 40%. The World Bank estimates that approximately 800,000 Kenyans join the labour market each year and only 50,000 succeed in getting professional jobs. Many graduates resort to working in the informal sector or remaining unemployed, with far-reaching consequences for Kenya's economy.
Samsung Vice President and COO for East & Central Africa Robert Ngeru says the electronics company is committed to developing technicians and engineers through innovative programmes designed to address specific needs.
"Samsung realized there was a gap in getting engineers who possess the right practical skills, hence the decision to establish the engineering academy. Our investment in this training centre is an additional initiative aimed at bridging this skills gap in the country, while at the same time giving youths a chance at entrepreneurship," he added.
The new facility will have an initial intake of 60 students who will go through a one -year vocational training that includes three months of apprenticeship within Samsung or its service partners. The training module also includes life skills to help the students start their own enterprises.
"We are very pleased to be partnering with Samsung in the launch of this facility. We are confident that it will ensure our students benefit from the best in technical training as we strive to achieve excellence," said Prof. Suki Mwenda, DVC Technology, Innovation and Partnerships at Technical University of Kenya.
Since its launch in Kenya, the Engineering Academy has trained over 250 students in technical fields in line with its different business segments: Internet & Mobile which covers mobile phones and tablets, and Consumer Electronics which covers home appliances such as televisions, home theatres and sound systems, microwaves, refrigerators and washing machines among others.