Ethiopia can benefit hugely from linking its Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program with its industries as experts contend that such linkage improves manpower competency and industries' productivity.
Many youths are already said to be changing their lives for the better through such linkage.
Federal Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institute, Industry Linkage Directorate Director, Dr. Demsaw Alemu says industry linkage is a way of providing systematic training to develop professional competency and performing ability of students in relation to industries.
TVET-industry linkage is mandatory for trainees not only to get practical experience, but also to be able to copy and transfer technology, he adds.
Creating the linkage between industry and TVET will enable students to get synergizing training and practical experience, in addition to the theoretical lessons that are taught in classrooms, as to him.
Demsaw indicates that industry linkage smoothes the process of converting the theoretical lessons to practical ones.
Furthermore, technology linkage reduces unemployment rate among graduates, as it enables them to create their own jobs in areas of their interests.
Also, industry linkage further hastens the process of technology transfer (technological transformation) as it accommodates higher education institutes with trained manpower, abundant materials and a place with experienced professionals.
Companies can recruit and select better employees for their organizations if the industry linkage is well executed. Professional competencies and skill have become a precise way for employers to distinguish superior from average or below average performance.
"Industry linkage is important to measure acquired skills and assess job performance. The linkage brings skills for management performance, better result and career development," the Director opines.
Korea International cooperation Agency (KOICA) is among the very few international partners to support Ethiopia's TVET programs.
Doh Young Ah, Agency Country Director says TVET is very important for the economic development of the country citing her country as an example of how the TVET program provided technical and skill development support to industry.
She stresses that although the TVET policy and program is very good in Ethiopia, it is more dependent on theoretical aspects due to shortage of equipment and other materials.
"Korea was the poorest country in the world until the Korean War. Industrialization played a huge role in our economic development where our government supported an industrialization policy to train TVET programs and create linkage with local industries."
Zeru Simur, Head of Addis Ababa City Administration Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Bureau tells The Ethiopian Herald that to create competent citizens with entrepreneurial skills, it is high time to work closely with industries and provide trainees with the chance to receive genuine and practical lessons.
Zeru affirms that some companies are forming linkage with TVET institutions, recognizing the constructive role TVET trainees play in the production process. However, according to him, there is a long way to go to expand this initiative in industries as a whole.
According to Zeru, copying and transferring technologies, one objective of TVET, is not an issue of gaining accolade or reputation, but it is in the interest of solving the problems facing small scale enterprises.
Mentioning one of the many benefits, he points out that copying and transferring one technology helps reduces 25-30 percent from the original price.
"The consensus now is to utilize problem-solving industry linkages to improve the economy. Every year several technologies are copied and transferred to small and medium enterprises. Products that are produced by small and medium scale enterprises are also copied and transferred by TVET institutions to small and medium manufacturing institutions."
Then again, by producing competent manpower, TVET-industry linkage help the country become competent internationally, says Sewasew Enyew, Industry Extension Technology Transfer Team Leader at Technical Vocational Education and Training Agency.
She points out that industry linkage creates opportunity to substitute imports, which in turn increases locally produced goods and services, and again in turn builds capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to be competitive in the global market.