General Electric Africa and Gearbox, a non-profit hardware innovation platform, will launch a manufacturing programme to help build a skilled technical workforce in Kenya. Dubbed the GE Garages, the programme is to be implemented by the University of Nairobi in conjunction with the Technical University of Kenya and Seven Seas Technologies.
According to Gearbox CEO Kamau Gachigi, is excited about the relationship as it is central to their objective of ‘democratising access to opportunities in industrialisation’. “Trainees will be trained on the use of this state-of-the-art equipment, but also in the soft skills that are necessary to leverage the tech-knowledge so as to successfully launch businesses,” Dr Gachigi said.
According to a release, the GE Garages space, which will be hosted at Gearbox’s premises, will support classes and workshops, for students, entrepreneurs, makers and others to learn more about advanced manufacturing processes, software programming and business development. It will feature advanced manufacturing innovations like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC mills. Further, the release states that the Oil and Gas Sector will create between 6,000 and 15,000 new jobs over the next ten years with the majority requiring technical or vocational training.
Jay Ireland, the President and CEO of General Electric Africa, said the initiative aims at making more ‘Kenyan youth employable in a fast changing technology-driven world’. “We are delighted to collaborate with like-minded establishments … “I’m looking forward to seeing great ideas that come to the GE Garage being transformed into practical business models that ultimately create more jobs in Kenya,” Ireland said. University of Nairobi Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Lucy Irungu, said the collaboration is a great opportunity for engineering students, supervised by the engineering faculty at the University, to gain access to modern equipment and methods that will ensure their undergraduate and post-graduate projects have greater impact on the region’s economic needs.
The GE Garages – Nairobi program truly brings to life the ‘Empower’ pillar of GE Africa’s CSR platform ‘GE Kujenga’ Patricia Obozuwa, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, GE Africa said. “GE’s approach to investing in our communities is to empower people by building valuable skills, equip communities with new tools and technology, and elevate ideas that help solve Africa’s challenges. We will continue working with Government, institutions, communities and private-sector peers to help bring sustainable and transformative development,” Ms Obozuwa said.
GE will provide the necessary equipment while University of Nairobi, Technical University of Kenya and Seven Seas Technologies will provide input to program as well as training facilities. GE created the Garages experience in March 2012 to reinvigorate interest in invention, innovation, and manufacturing in America. This program went global with a workshop in Lagos Nigeria in 2014 and has since grown to include several countries in Europe and the Middle-East, the release by Africa Press Organisation (APO), states.