Agriculture Youth Employment Transformation [AYET] Program

Innovative Academic Placement Solutions [INAPS] brings together a team of individual and institutional experts whose ambition is to transform Agriculture Sector through skillful graduates from institutions of learning through effective programs in Africa. It intends to achieve this through an initiative dubbed ‘Agriculture Student Industrial Attachment, Internships and Youth Employment Transformation [ASIA&IYET 2018-2022]. Since 2018, INAPS has driving the process towards the development of Manual of Guide lines for the Agriculture Student Industrial Attachment and Internship Programs in Kenya. This initiative brings together the Academia, Industry [public and private sector] and facilitative agencies [Government and Non-Governmental Organizations] for focused dialogues that will produce the Manual of Guidelines. The process leading to this entails the engagement of academia, respective government reps, fresh graduates and SMEs across selected counties in Kenya.

The draft manual will be piloted for 3 years; after which it will undergo a final evaluation to be adopted as the “Standard Manual of Guidelines for Agriculture Student Industrial Attachments and Internships in Kenya”. Through a standard policy development process, this manual will be subjected to a legislative process for it to be incorporated into the legal frameworks that will make it enforceable. Thus, it will be able to contribute to the desired Transformation of Agriculture in Kenya for Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture. It is hoped that the evidence of the successes gained in Kenya will enable it to be cascaded to the Regional and Continental Levels for the benefit of the African Union’s Member States.

BACKGROUND

Kenya, like other countries in Africa, has an alarmingly poor industrial attachment, internships and job placement programs for agriculture students, which translates into graduates lacking the expected Day-1 competence at employment. In turn, this is reflected in the poorly performing agriculture sector in Africa. The African Union has launched various programs which hope to transform Agriculture in Africa. The success of this ambition anchors in the production of quality expertise to support the sector. There is therefore an urgent need to transform the approach used to produce graduates from the training institutions, a move that will bring closer the attainment of Vision 2030, Agriculture Sector Transformation & Growth Strategy 2019-2029; Kenya Youth in Agribusiness Strategy 2017-2021; Big Four Agenda on Food Security in Kenya and Sustainable Development Goals No. 1; 4 and 10.

The intended approach involves a re-establishment of a tripartite relationship between the academia, the industry and the relevant government ministries with an aim of working together. Findings from cross-country studies in selected parts of Africa have clearly stipulated that there exists critical issues and challenges surrounding Student Industrial Attachment and Internship Programs. These studies allude that often students undergo divergent challenges during their attachment and internship periods.

  • Shortage of Industrial Attachment and Internship Places for Students and Fresh Graduates.
  • Inadequate Knowledge on the Role of Induction Training for Industrial Attachment and Internships.
  • Lack of Sufficient Goodwill to include Induction Training Policy for Agriculture as an Industry in a Range of Policies.
  • Employers Reluctance to take Students on attachment and Fresh Graduates on Paid Internships.
  • Low Quality Supervision and Assessment on Suitable Assessment Techniques that is expected to Triangulate among Lecturer, Student and the Workplace Supervisor for Beneficiation and Value Addition.
  • Inadequate Finance to carry out Well-Structured and Planned Academic Attachment Training Programs for Students and Quality Paid-up Internships for Fresh Agriculture Graduates.
  • Insufficient Resources to Sustain Students’ during Attachment and lack of employers’ morale to take on fresh graduates for ‘work’.
  • Inadequate Preparedness of Students for ‘Rough and Tough’ On-The-Job Training for Work Environment.

 RATIONALE TO ACTION

While there are notable efforts to address the above challenges facing students on industrial attachment, and fresh agriculture graduates out of school, a lot remains to be done. Worse still, the situation is likely to ascend by 2020 and beyond as thousands of graduates continue to be churned in and out of Institutions of Higher Learning every year across Africa.

There is therefore dire and imperative need to develop systems and structures which support good practice in engagement interactions between higher education and a wide range of sectoral enterprises.

All is not lost. Hundreds of institutions and organizations have embarked on best practices that have this far successfully addressed some if not all of the challenges facing students’ industrial attachment and internship placement programs in Agriculture.

However, such practices are often localized and practiced within respective institutions and organizations and are only accessible by a few % of students across Africa.

Sharing, documenting and disseminating such ‘localized’ practices will be one way that institutions and organizations across Africa can work together towards solving the challenges and issues identified. It is envisaged that many of the best practices being carried out across respective institutions if brought to the fore and replicated will go a long way in addressing major challenges facing student academic placement programs for Agriculture across Africa.

PURPOSE OF Agriculture Youth Employment Transformation [AYET] Program:

Through the Agriculture Student Industrial Attachment, Internship and Youth Employment Transformation Initiative [ASIA&IYET 2018-2022], INAPS and Partners [for the period 2018-2022] intends to:

  1. Increase the relevance of Agriculture Placement Programs within the academia, the private sector, civil society and governments across Africa.
  2. Develop a critical mass of sensitized civil society, private sector and academia stakeholders who can champion Innovative and functional Quality Value-Adding Academic Placement Programs (Q-VAAPPs) for Agriculture across Africa.
  3. Identify opportunities for adoption of resolutions that would adequately address issues and challenges identified in Agriculture Attachment, Internships and Job Placement Programs across Africa, while seeking practical and innovative strategies of address for the development of the agriculture sector.
  4. Generate an effective and well-informed caucus of stakeholders cognizant of existing challenges facing Agriculture Placement Programs with a view to influence policy and legislation in most African countries that are necessary to better address Agriculture Placement Program Challenges across Africa.

Note: This caucus would then be in a strategic position to interrogate and influence discussions within governments and intergovernmental organizations on Agriculture Placement Programs while depicting the proper representation of the communities they represent, i.e. bring out the practicability of the policies and regulations put in place.

METHODOLOGY

The initiative intends to work with a total of 2350 students against 2350 farmers in Year 1, with key stakeholders from the academia, the industry and respective county government ministries at county level.

OBJECTIVES OF ASIA&IYET 2018-2022

  1. Sensitize academia, civil society organizations, the private sector, and relevant government ministries on Academic Placement Agenda for Agriculture development in Kenya and its relationship with National Economic growth.
  2. Provide up-to-date information on efforts made and scientific research related to Agriculture Placement Programs and mitigation of challenges therein.
  3. Discuss the implications of Quality Agriculture Placement Program development in relation to the Students’ Career Development, Community Development, Institutional Development, Industrial Development and overall Africa’s development.
  4. Identify and develop interventions, resolutions and guidelines on how to address Agriculture Placement Program challenges in Kenya.

ASIA&IYET 2018-2022 WILL FURTHER REVIEW STRATEGIES THAT WILL ENHANCE:

  1. Mobilization of adequate resources towards fresh agriculture graduate’s attachment, internship and job placement programs.
  2. Project establishments to help in relieving attachment, internships and job places.
  3. Development of partnership with industry to ease placement of fresh agriculture graduates for internships and jobs.
  4. Deployment of attachés under supervision of qualified and experienced mentors.
  5. Support from the government, private sector and other stakeholders on Quality Value Adding Agriculture Placement Programs.

 ASIA&IYET 2018-2022 OUTCOMES:

  1. Increased opportunities that nurture relationships between universities, colleges and industries to tackle increasing unemployment of agriculture graduates.
  2. Faculty-employer involvement in the design and supervision of Agriculture Placement Programs.
  3. Establishment of strong Industrial Placement Units (IPUs) by faculties within institutions and organizations.
  4. Innovative motivation strategies for institutions, students and employers to engage in implementation of Quality Value-Adding Agriculture Placement Programs (Q-VAAPPs).
  5. Incorporation of work-based learning into overall education curriculum.
  6. Development of applicable agriculture research opportunities between universities, colleges and the industry.

For more information on the ASIA&IYET 2018-2022 initiative, call +254 (0) 745 196 888/ 714 679 614 or write to emma@inaps.co.ke and/or contact@inaps.co.ke

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