Samsung East Africa Launches An Engineering Academy in Kenya
Samsung Electronics East Africa in partnership with the Technical University of Kenya has launched an air conditioning and refrigeration engineering academy at the Technical University of Kenya premises. The move by Samsung is geared towards improving the levels of engineering skills available in Kenya.
Prof. Suki Mwenda, DVC Technology, Innovation and Partnerships at the Technical University of Kenya, said, “We are very pleased to be partnering with Samsung in the launch of this facility. We are confident that it will ensure our students benefit from the best in technical training as we strive to achieve excellence.”
The launch of this facility is part of the Samsung Engineering Academy that was launched back in 2012 at the Woodvale Centre in Nairobi. This move by Samsung was meant to address the insufficient supply of technical and engineering skills in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa at large. Samsung has set out a target of developing 10,000 Electronics Engineers throughout Africa by the year 2015. It intends to achieve this by exposing students to the right vocational training.
The academy is expected to give students hands-on skills in repairing and maintaining air conditioning and refrigeration units as part of the academy’s practical training. At the same time, the academy will give the students jobs and a chance to learn about entrepreneurship as the country’s unemployment rate stands at 40%.
According to World Banks estimates, there are about 800,000 Kenyans who join the labour market annually, but only about 50,000 of this, secure a professional job. The rest either join the informal sector or will have to make do without being employed.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Adan Mohamed, the Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary, said, “As we position ourselves for greater sustained economic growth, we foresee a need for specialized technical skills, which will not only ensure that we have trained labour and entrepreneurs, but also ensure that consumers who require repair and maintenance services can acquire them from professionally trained personnel.”
Adan lauded Samsung’s commitment to sharing skills, with the local Kenyan students, which he said will take Kenya a long way in terms of socio-economic development.
“Samsung realized there was a gap in getting engineers who possess the right practical skills, hence the decision to establish the engineering academy. Our investment in this training centre is an additional initiative aimed at bridging this skills gap in the country, while at the same time giving youths a chance at entrepreneurship,” said Robert Ngeru, Samsung Vice President and COO for East & Central Africa.
Ngeru said that the electronics giant is committed to increasing the number of technicians and engineers who are competent, by taking them through educational programmes tailor-made to address their specific needs.
The new academy will enrol 60 students on its first intake and will take the students through a one-year vocational training. The training will include three-month apprenticeship training within Samsung or its service partners. The students will also be given some life skills that will enable them to start their own enterprises.