Toyota Kenya Foundation introduced Toyota Service Technicians for the 21st Century (TST21) to provide technical skills to the Technicians in the automotive sector.

Under this partnership The Toyota Kenya Foundation will seek to up-skill technicians through its technical course dubbed Toyota service technicians for the 21st century (TST21) an initiative aimed at updating the technical skills within the informal automotive service industry and creating new opportunities for the youth. During this course, the mechanics are provided with basic training on maintenance and repair; defect report writing and customer service.

This two phase training ensures the course covers electrical, engine, drive train, chassis and body and pain basics with additional training in soft skills such as goal setting, financial management, creating an entrepreneurial mindset.

Speaking during the graduation of the first class of trainees Toyota Kenya Managing Director Mr. Arvinder Reel said that the TST21 course is part of Toyota Kenya’s plans to increase the number of technicians and mechanics across the country while at the same time creating employment opportunities for the youth.

“We continue to rollout various initiatives aimed at enhancing technical and mechanical skills. The TST21 is one such initiative aimed at not only enhancing the available mechanical skills, but also empowering mechanics within the Jua Kali sector. It is our hope that the 11 technicians graduating today will utilize their training to not only seek out gainful self-employment but also create employment opportunities and train other technicians within the Jua Kali sector.” Mr. Reel stated.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the number of registered motorized vehicles grew to 2.84 million in 2016 up from 1.79 million in 2012. In 2017 more than 280,000 motorized vehicles were registered, bringing the total number of registered motorized vehicles to over 3.1 million. According to Toyota Kenya Chairman Amb. Dennis Awori, this creates a large market for the service and maintenance industry, with KNBS indicating that there were slightly over 33,900 employees working within the sector in 2016.

Despite the Demand for technical skills and the high rate of unemployment, most young people tend to shy away from technical training, a factor that the Technical and Vocational Education Training Authority (TVETA) hopes to address through the development standard of training curriculums in Technical and Vocational Education Training Institutions. TVETA is mandated to regulate the TVET sector through Licensing, Registration, and Accreditation of institutions, programs and trainers. TVETA Head Compliance and Re-enforcement, Dr. Osawa Ottah says that the greatest challenge facing TVET Institutions is the lack of equipment and qualified trainers.

“We have to ensure that the skills taught in TVETs are relevant to the job market to ensure that the youth can utilize technical skills to start their own businesses as opposed to seeking employment. This means partnering with companies and industries that have the need for technical skills to develop support curriculums as well as up-skill our trainees. Toyota Kenya Foundation’s program fits in well with our vision and we hope to forge partnerships to not only train youth but also trainers of trainers to enable us to scale up and reach more young people.” TVETA Head Compliance and Re-enforcement, Dr. Osawa Ottah said.

“It is important for companies to partner with training institutions to ensure that the skills acquired by the training are relevant to the market. Such skills enable trainees to take up entrepreneurship and formalize the skills of untrained professionals, PS, TVET, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Kevit Desai stated.

The TST21 program is open to youth between 18 and 26 years and offers entrepreneurial training with key skills in goal setting and actualization, communication and cash flow management.  The next intake will open in September 2018 and will target to train up to 12 technicians. The Toyota Kenya Foundation’s ultimate plan through its partners is to impact JuaKali mechanics across all the 47 counties.

The Toyota Kenya Foundation has been in Kenya for over 15 years and has four pillars – Health, Environment, Safety, and Education. Over the Years the Foundation has sponsored Diploma students in Colleges and Polytechnics. Following the opening of the Toyota Kenya Academy in 2014, The Foundation offers training Automotive, Entrepreneurship, Agri-business, Farmer and Operator Agri-Mechanization, Construction Kaizen and Japanese Language and Culture Courses.

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