PropelA CEO Networking Event - Unveiling a Future of Collaboration and Innovation

09.01.2024
Swisscontact hosted a CEO Networking Event, bringing together PropelA Dual Apprenticeship's stakeholders, encompassing private sector entities, government officials, funders, industry experts, and apprentices. Their collective mission: to foresee and actively contribute to the future landscape of the construction industry in Kenya.

At the close of 2023, PropelA dual apprenticeship program, funded by the Hilti Foundation and implemented by Swisscontact, orchestrated an insightful CEO networking event. The event served as a nexus, bringing together PropelA's stakeholders, encompassing private sector entities, government officials, funders, industry experts, and apprentices. Their collective mission: to foresee and actively contribute to the future landscape of the construction industry in Kenya.

Going beyond networking, the event facilitated robust discussions centered around "The Future of Dual Vocational Programs in the Construction Sector in Kenya: Emerging Opportunities and Trends." Esteemed voices from the industry, including Ms. Jane Kamau, Director of Industrial Training and Skill Development at NITA, Mr. Bobby Jandu, the Managing Director at Allied Plumbers, Dr. Harish Banderi, the CEO at Atlas Plumbers, and Engineer Kiplangat Chebii from Express Plumbers, alongside plumbing and electric apprentices Aston Mwendwa and Elizabeth Bosibori, representatives from PropelA's inaugural cohort, engaged in a thought-provoking panel moderated by Lillian Mwai, the Country Director of Swisscontact.

Vocational training as an avenue for economic empowerment

The panel acknowledged the pivotal gap between industry demand and skilled workforce, which contributes to the escalating youth unemployment crisis in Kenya. Emphasizing the imperative to reshape mindsets, the event encouraged a positive perspective on vocational training as a potent avenue for economic empowerment, countering the traditional bias towards white-collar jobs.

Industry representatives shed light on the emerging trends in the construction sector and the evolving job market, articulating sector-specific needs and emerging trends, ultimately emphasizing the necessity for skilled labor and the delivery of quality work. The call for a curriculum review also emerged, underscoring the importance of imparting real-world skills to empower the youth for competitive employment and meet industry standards in Kenya.

PropelA received commendation for its proactive approach in incorporating industry experts into curriculum reviews, aligning educational programs with industry needs to ensure a robust supply of skilled personnel for the country. The unique PropelA model, where industry leaders directly invest in apprentices, fostering long-term engagement, skill-sharing, and firsthand experience, was explored as a groundbreaking standard for skills development in the construction landscape. The insights provided a compelling glimpse into a future characterized by innovation, collaboration, and sustainable practices harmoniously coexisting.

"We are here to create opportunities for people so that they can create a sustainable and prospective career in their lives. I am here for the youth generation, and so proud to see that we are continuously achieving that, and we have a responsible private sector championing this program and aiding in meeting the needs of the youth in Kenya. There is excellence in the teaching materials provided by Geberit, Hilti Foundation, Hansgrohe and those purchased locally are an addition to building a robust market of skilled apprentices. We want to ensure we have quality education and foster economic wealth and stability for the youth. With Kenya as a success case, we would like to stretch it to other African countries."
Werner Wallner, CEO Hilti Foundation

The event also welcomed Dr. Steve Tharakan, the Head of Mission/Deputy Permanent Representative to the embassy of Switzerland in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda. He praised Swisscontact and Hilti Foundation for their efforts, stressing the crucial role of Kenya-Switzerland collaboration in PropelA's success. He advocated for continued best practice exchange and expressed confidence in the program's transformative potential for youth empowerment.

Beyond the structured discussions, the event fostered a dynamic environment for forging connections, reflecting a collective commitment to shaping the future of construction through innovation and collaboration. As PropelA continues to make a significant impact on the industry, the CEO networking event stands as a testament to the dedication of all involved in fostering positive change and advancing the construction landscape in Kenya.

From left to right: Father Jose, Director at Don Bosco Boys Town Technical Institute, Dr. Steve Tharakan, the Head of Mission/Deputy Permanent Representative to the embassy of Switzerland in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda, Mr. Bobby Jandu, the Managing Director at Allied Plumbers, and the Brother Francis Mulu, Principal of Don Bosco Boys Town Technical Institute.
Mr. Werner Wallner, the CEO of the Hilti Foundation, delivers a compelling keynote address to the esteemed guests.
From left to right: Electrical Apprentice Emmanuel Mbaire, Mr. Werner Wallner, the CEO of the Hilti Foundation, Plumbing Apprentice Elizabeth BosiBori, Electrical Apprentice Aston Mwendwa 
From left to right: Lillian Mwai, Country Director, Swisscontact, Dr. Harish Banderi, CEO at Atlas Plumbers, Eng Kiplangat Chebii from Express Plumbers, Ms. Jane Kamau, Director of Industrial Training and Skill Development at NITA, Elizabeth Bosibori, Plumbing Apprentice Attached at Davis & Shirtliff, Aston Mwendwa, Electrical Apprentice Attached at Mehta Electricals 

This project is financed by the Hilti Foundation. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA.

Kenya
Initial vocational education and training
Improving skills for young plumbers and electricians through dual apprenticeship training (PropelA)
The PropelA project seeks to introduce a dual apprenticeship model driven by employers for the construction industry in Kenya and beyond, starting with plumbers and electricians.