TVET Authority Director-General Dr Kipkirui Langat has today opened a one-week pilot WorldSkills Kenya (WSK) Mechatronics Competition taking place at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.

The competition which has attracted 17 colleges, both TVET institutions and technical universities is a pilot and experimental event aimed at offering the students a learning experience ahead of the National Skills Competition later in the year.

Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT), is one of the TVET institutions approved by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology were tasked by TVET authority to organize the Mechatronics competitions on behalf of WSK and Prof. Jean Bosco Byiringiro was appointed to champion mechatronics skills both locally and internationally through preparing competitors at DeKUT Siemens Mechatronics Certification Centre.

During the event, which starts today till Friday, Dr Langat said the pilot will help WorldSkills Kenya (WSK) develop the country’s national competition frameworks in readiness for competition.

“The State Department of Vocational and Technical Training is keen to ensure this undertaking becomes a reality and is ready to work with all partners and stakeholders from the public and Private/industry sector,” Dr Langat said.

He said that WorldSkills Kenya has already taken giant steps in the preparations for national and continental events slated for March 2021 in Namibia, before heading to Shanghai China later in the year for the international competition.

The DG noted that WorldSkills Kenya has achieved several milestones in preparation for the Shanghai competition. These include the appointment of officials to spearhead the local chapter of WorldSkills International, the appointment of skills experts in the 16 skills areas the country intends to focus on for a start, the capacity building of key stakeholders and the development of the WSK website, a platform that will share information to all stakeholders, skills to the youth.

“Our next plans shall include signing an MoU with WorldSkills Germany and then prepare for National, Continental and Global competitions.”

“I urge the young people participating to take advantage of this competition and learn ahead of the national competition. This will be a good opportunity for you to learn and gain experience. The exposure you will get at the national, regional and international competition will open more doors for you to network and even establish your start-ups,” Dr Langat said.

The opening ceremony was also attended by WorldSkills Kenya Official Delegate Prof Okoth Ogur, representative of the TVET institutions Mohammad Hassan and Dedan Kimathi Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs Prof. Esther Magiri.

Prof. Ogur, who is also a TVET Advisor to the Office of Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education said the journey of participating in skills competition has been quite vigorous and demanding.

“I would therefore like to thank the organizing team lead by our Mechatronics expert, instructors as well as the young people participating in this training and eventually the competition, for their commitment. I am sure there are no losers. You will learn something that will change your life for the better. That is what WorldSkills is about. Improving our world with the power of skills.”

He said WSK chose Mechatronics because it’s a key skill in the government development agenda, especially in the manufacturing sector, which is a key enabler of the Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030.

“Another reason we chose Mechatronics is because of the excellent facilities that the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology has and an enthusiastic expert who is passionate about imparting skills to our young people,” Prof. Ogur said.

“Subsequently, evolving customer demands requiring speed, customization, and quality.  This coupled with technological advancements have led to the introduction of new automation concept Mechatronics, which enables advanced manufacturing to take place in day to day industries.”

The colleges participating in the competition include Coast Institute of Technology, Mukiria TTI, Musakara TTI, Katine TTI, Ahmed S. Mwidani TTI, Mumias West TTI, Masinga TTI, Okame TTI, Kipsoen TTI, Kenya Technical Trainers College, North Eastern National Polytechnic, Wamingu TTI and Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology.

Before today’s competition the students had a two week on board training at the university to prepare them for the event.