PROOF OF CONCEPT
CASE STUDY: CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY WORK INTEGRATED LEARNING PROGRAM
The work integrated learning model in collaboration with the industry has been tested and proven successful when three highly esteemed companies, Krones LCS, Nairobi Bottlers Ltd and Centurions Systems Ltd partnered in a unique and innovative project to address skills gap in Kenya. The three companies established a Center of Excellence in Food and Beverage Industry Work integrated learning program, an initiative that addresses the mismatch of technical skills demand and supply by upskilling the fresh graduates from TVET colleges with industry relevant modules coupled with industrial experience/work integrated learning leading to improved employment outcomes. The Center of Excellence provides technical up-skilling for fresh graduates from technical institutions and provide work integrated learning opportunities. The center focuses on the field of mechatronics and offers comprehensive training on over 52 mechatronics modules and factory exposure for application and practical experience.
About the companies
Krones is one of the leading machine manufacturing company in the world for the bottling industry. Krones plans, develops and manufactures machines and complete lines for the fields of process, filling, and packaging technology as well as life cycle services (training solutions, technical support, parts sales etc) for their customers, mainly the bottling companies.
Nairobi Bottlers Ltd on the other hand is a consumer driven, customer oriented, manufacturer, sales & Distribution Company that markets the products & brands of The Coca-Cola Company. NBL was acquired by Coca Cola South Africa Bottling Company (CCSabco) and has grown into a market leader in the non-alcoholic ready to drink beverage sector commanding over 50% of the Kenyan soft drink market.
Centurion Systems Ltd is a technology transfer firm that brings to the industrial platform a vast experience in the technical service, continuous technical professional development, research and innovation, with key focus on the fields of industrial automation, motion and process control and lean manufacturing. Centurion Systems is an accredited technical training center by TVETA and NITA and an approved training provider by original equipment manufacturers including Siemens, Mitsubishi, Festo, Danfoss, Rockwell Automation and Allen Bradley
The work integrated learning program is a two year intensive and comprehensive technical training and factory practical experience that will result in highly skilled technicians in the field of mechatronics. It is structured such that the learners get practical training on mechanical modules at Nairobi Bottlers Ltd and further practical attachment at the NBL Factory then proceed to Krones East Africa for further training on electrical modules and a further practical experience with the Krones machine lines on factory experience. The learners then come to Centurion Systems Ltd for automation and process control modules to learn sub-system components, micro-controllers and pneumatics systems.
Success of the Project
The project is a unique work integrated learning model and the first of its kind to be implemented successfully in Kenya in a Private Public Partnership (PPP). Despite the many challenges that the project face at the onset, with it came many lessons learnt and the success of the project.
At the systemic level, the successes includes;
• Work integrated learning in Kenya: The project has showcased a working work integrated learning model in the country. This has attracted the interest of government, through various ministries including the ministry of education and the ministry of industrialization and enterprise development. The private sector has also been enthusiastic about the model and they have expressed interest in supporting such a model. The academia on the other hand sees this model as the future of education as it meets the needs of the industry and produces highly competent graduates.
• Linking industry with academia: The project is a collaboration between industries in the bottling industry and academic institutions including TTIs. This the best demonstration of how academia and industry can work together in developing skills among students.
• Industry involvement (Sustainability): The involvement of industry is a key success factor and enhances the sustainability of the project. In the CoE, the second batch of learners is fully funded by the industry and the involvement of various organizations from the private sector significantly reduces the cost of such a project through their contributions.
• Productivity and efficiency in industry: Companies with highly skilled employees, like the ones trained under the program will enhance the company’s productivity, efficiency and innovation. This will lead to profitability of the company.
To address the challenges of skills gap and employment, the project has achieved the following;
• Highly skilled youth: The graduates of the program are highly skilled having received intensive and extensive theoretical and practical training using advanced modern training equipment and effective pedagogy approaches. This has built their competence and confidence in their field of occupation and readiness to provide productivity solutions at the company level.
• Industry exposure: The trainees receive practical training at the training centres and further practical industry experience working at a factory. This helps in applying the training they have received in a real working environment, which boosts their confidence in the capacity they have.
• Productive employment: The program assures the trainees of productive employment upon completion of the training. The first cohort of trainees already has high paying job offers waiting for them upon completion. This is because of the level and quality of training they go through in the program that matches international standards.