EfVET participation to online conference Gearbox

EfVET participation to online conference Gearbox

On the 24th of March of 2022 an online conference took place remotely under the title of “The Gearbox Makerspace and Product Development: Unlocking the potential of innovative entrepreneurial activities”. The participants of the conference were welcomed by Sarah Elson-Rogers, Team leader for “Innovation and the Future of TVET” at UNESCO-UNEVOC. She gave an introduction of the Gearbox project, which has the aim to improve the knowledge of VET students in Kenya, so as to obtain the necessary skills, in order to fit with the demands of the enterprises in the industrial sector. As the necessity to match the skills that the enterprises are looking for with those implemented by the educational system are very strong, EfVET participated with interest in the event, in order to learn more about how such a good practice was carried out in an African country in the area of Vocational and Educational Training.

Moderator Wilson Lima Junior, BILT Project Manager at UNESCO-UNEVOC pointed out the main three benefits of the TVET programs. These benefits are that these programs have a vision of qualification that is needed for the market, they also provide the generation of extra-budgetary resources through the provision of non-traditional services, and finally, they foster new teaching and learning approaches in the field of education.

The first speaker Mr Kamau Gachigi, Executive Director of Gearbox in Kenya, affirmed that they realised that when many students wanted to find a job, the skills the enterprises were looking for did not match with the ones the students had, so there was the need to launch a project in which students should acquire the required skills, so as to enter in the labour market. They started with a fab lab in the University of Nairobi and they discovered that those students who were taking the training courses of the fab lab, were acquiring more demanded competences than the others. Consequently, Mr George Makateto, Director of Industries, Engineering and Construction Industries at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives in Kenya, stated that the Gearbox project was really relevant for the industrial development of Kenia, because there are not so many resources in this area in the country.

Two of the main examples of the success of this project are the ones of Ms. Matee and Mr. Kimali. On the one hand, Ms Nzambi Matee, Inventor, Entrepreneur and Founder of Gjenge Makers in Kenya, explained the opportunity she showed to connect the reduction of plastic elements with the Gearbox project by a prototype. On the other hand, Mr. Nicholus Kimali, CEO and Founder at Fedha Electrics Limited in Kenya, was working on a project of the speed limiter and Gearbox was key in order to develop the object.

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