Apprentice Job Work (AJW) Africa of Kenya and the National Transformation Initiative (NTI) of Barbados signalled the start of a fruitful partnership aimed at boosting synergy between them in training, skill sharing and youth development.
This took the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Jane Mwangi, Chief Executive Officer, AJW Africa, and Dr. Allyson Leacock, Director, NTI, in a virtual signing ceremony on Thursday.
Giving the Keynote Address was Senator Dr. The Hon. Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Barbados, who shared her excitement as she contextualised the partnership globally and nationally.
She noted, “The context of signing this MOU is another critical plank in our transformative journey. The transformative journey between our countries, Barbados and Kenya, and the transformative journey of reframing, rebuilding and strengthening the bridge between the Caribbean and Africa.”
High Commissioner of the Government of Barbados to the Republic of Kenya His Excellency William. A. McDonald said that after facilitating the first meeting between AJW Africa and the NTI, he witnessed the passion and ideas culminate within a 2-month timeframe to bring them to this point.
“The MOU is the first step of constructing a relationship that covers 7 or 8,000 km but not more than a mindset away from each other. The distance may be great but the two minds of the two institutions [NTI and AJW Africa] are exactly the same”, he noted.
“Both are committed to the development of their nations; both are committed to the development of a global worker, and both are committed to building relationships and seeing strength beyond where they are”, he added.
AJW Africa is a Kenyan-based organisation with an African outlook and a mission to create sustainable, decent, meaningful employment for the Youth of Africa. CEO Mwangi acknowledged that while many African youth leave their technical vocational institutions and universities “technically sound”, they lack “the finesse that allows them to play in the international space”. This is where she believes the NTI’s eLearning platform will be of major benefit, starting with a pilot programme to upskill 100 African youth.
“We are very grateful about this partnership because we do recognise that what NTI is bringing to the table is providing us with access to accredited courses for the personal and professional development of young people”, she passionately stated.
Dr. Leacock, too, foresees a bright partnership ahead: “We look forward to this MOU being a tremendous success, a demonstration of real partnership, synergy, the alignment of our thinking and the development of our young people who are our future”.
She explained the first step of the pilot with AJW Africa will be “the recruiting of suitable candidates for training in the areas of Tourism and Hospitality, Healthcare (Nursing and Caregiving), and ICTs (Cybersecurity, AI, Data Science, Data Analysis) available on the NTI platform”.
Dr. Leacock added that the NTI will facilitate AJW Africa’s pilot orientation and sessions to train on the platform and the onboarding of the recruits as well as their Facilitators and Tutors, as they undertake NTI Coursera training courses.
The NTI leads national transformation through comprehensive retraining and empowering of Barbadians to make them globally fit for purpose. It has a Learning Management System (LMS) hosting thousands of e-courses, some indigenously designed and others through a partnership with global MOOC Coursera.