Bridging Innovation and Learning in TVET (BILT) conference came to an end on Wednesday, as stakeholders called for greening and digitalization of the Hospitality and Tourism industry.

The 3-day international conference was a joint initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, and UNESCO-UNEVOC.

The conference, which was hosted by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) together with African Union, deliberated on matters ‘Going green and digital’ in the wake of technological advancement.

Participants, who included keynote speakers, TVET trainers and managers, TVET experts and stakeholders from Ministries, National bodies, TVET providers, research institutes, representatives of the private sector, and other stakeholders in the Hospitality and Tourism industry, tracked the measures and milestones that have been achieved in greening and transformation of the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. They also brainstormed on the dynamics of technology in the sector, in view of the changing landscape in the skilling of the practitioners in the industry.

The guest of honour, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu’s speech was read by Director Technical Education, Tom Mulati. The CS said the concerns about climate change place pressure on TVET institutions to develop skills.

‘’ The Kenya government has incorporated a unit on environmental sustainability in all the CBET programmes,” he said.

Keynote speeches were made by senior officers from the Kenya Ministry of Education, BOMA International Hospitality College (BIHC) Director Mr Abbas Gullet, Senior Youth Advisor, African Union Commission Mr Nicholas Ouma, among other speakers.

TVETA was also represented by staff from across all departments.

TVET Authority Chair Prof. Florence Indede pointed out the need for TVET providers to offer climate change courses so as to sharpen skills in dealing with the effects.

Kenya is currently battling a severe drought occasioned by climate change that has caused a lot of suffering to its populace. Climate change adoption calls for concerted efforts from all sectors,” Prof. Indede said.

TVETA Director- General Dr. Kipkirui Langat called upon TVET stakeholders to yearn for excellence by keeping tabs on the evolving world of technology.  Dr. Langat reiterated that TVET Authority is doing everything within its mandate to promote and oversee a seamless incorporation of technology and greening in TVET institutions across Kenya.

“TVET is a key supplier of the workforce. In this regard, I urge everyone in the TVET ecosystem to be at the forefront of championing greening and digitalization in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry,” Said Dr. Langat.

The primary objective of BILT is to support TVET stakeholders across Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe to address current challenges in TVET systems arising from technological, environmental, social and workplace changes. The BILT project provides a global platform for innovation, knowledge exchange, and peer learning. It collects best practices as well as lessons learned to make them available to those interested.

UNESCO regional Director Mr. Hubertz Gijzen said that Africa needs to accelerate greening and digital transformation, saying UNESCO has developed two key drivers to support the mission. He said that there should be a bridging link between formal TVET players to bring green skills for green jobs to fruition.

Speaking during the event, National Assembly Education and Research committee chair Julius Melly decried the notion that students who go to TVET institutions are failures. Melly said the skills acquired in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions are useful even to graduates.

“Get rid of the attitude and make sure that those graduates need to go TVETs to acquire skills,” Melly said.

This conference has been the first on-site Bridging Event of the BILT project in Africa. It has encouraged participants to among other things discuss the perspective the BILT project will take on green and digital transition in the hospitality and tourism sector.

The goal is to define the scope and focus of the new BILT Expert Group on the dual transition to a green and digital economy and society that is to be composed after the event.

On Tuesday evening, the delegates made a case-study visit to Kibondeni College of Catering and Hospitality Management which is a project of Nurisha Trust (an offshoot of Kianda Foundation) committed to the education and welfare of women in Kenya.

The institution began in 1961 as an in-service catering training school. The college aims primarily at improving the standards of living of young women from low-income families equipping them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them to secure employment to meet their needs and those of their families and make them self-reliant.
Throughout the courses, emphasis is laid on character training, the spirit of service and the importance of professional work for the development of the person and the country.

During the visit to the institutions, students showcased different skills both in goods and services. This included garment making, housekeeping, laundry and hospitality management. The college is well endowed with a state of art facilities. Guests were wowed by the level of competency and skills denoted by students, as the former got treated to a colourful dinner prepared by the college students.

The culmination of the short visit was a tree planting by TVET Authority Board and management and the UNESCO-UNEVOC fraternity.

The team lauded the college for scaling the heights in imparting top-notch skills in matters of hospitality to students.