The Kenya National Qualifications Authority plans to certify over 500,000 youth in the informal sector under the prior learning programme in the next five years as it moves to formalise hands on skills acquired from years of experience.
The program aims to make formal employment accessible to people who have gained knowledge and skills through informal study or experiential means.
The economic survey 2022 shows the informal sector employs over 15 million Kenyans with skills in artisan work like jua kali, welding, plumbing, electrical, and masonry among others but are not certified.
Speaking during a workshop of the construction industry stakeholders, the director-general of the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA), Juma Mukwama highlighted the need to integrate the RPL policy in all institutions across the country.
“In the next five years, we target 300,000 to 500,000 certified youth. Already we have the young people with the skills, we have built the capacity of the institutions and all we need is the joint effort, especially with the construction sector,” said Mr Mukwama, the director-general at the KNQA.
The ministry has partnered with examination bodies, assessors, TVET institutions and quality assurance personnel to roll out the RPL policy in all 47 counties.
The RPL policy introduced in 2020 targets people in the informal and formal sectors, youth out of school, people who have never been to school, educated people, asylum seekers and retirees. It aims at bridging the skills gap in the market by promoting access and employability to marginalised groups in the country.
“We are working closely with NCA to ensure those who have acquired skills on the job can have them assessed and recognized through certification,” said Ms Jane Muigai, the founder of Toolkit iskills.
Toolkit iskills Limited focuses on the construction and renewable energy sectors and is among the players pushing for RPL.
RPL is the process used to identify, assess and certify a candidate’s knowledge, skills and competencies acquired in non-formal or informal learning, such as work or life experiences, against prescribed standards or learning outcomes.