Pomp and colour characterized the 3rd graduation ceremony of the TUM’s Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) learners, on Thursday, November 16, 2023, as 130 students graduated with various Certificates.
The programmes completed were: Manual Arc Welding, Lathe Machine Operations, and Instrumentation and Control.
The ceremony was graced by the presence of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Laila Abubakar, Director of TUM-TVET Institute Mr Charles Majani, Registrar of Administration and Planning Dr Shivani Patel, representatives of the main sponsors, Mr Eddy Oloo and Eve Muriithi from Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Training Coordinator, Mr Peter Waweru from Associated Vehicles Assemblers (AVA), and other faculty members.
Mr Majani kicked off the ceremony by congratulating the graduates for their excellent results and for showcasing their effective and efficient skills in their respective fields. He also appreciated the sponsors, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) for empowering the students with the necessary skills and materials. Mr Majani proudly pointed out that ten of the trainees got attachment opportunities at AVA, and eight of them were employed thereafter.
Two trainers, Madam Patience Wacharo from the Electrical section and Mr Alex Sudi Juma from the Mechanical department, also briefly gave words of encouragement to the graduates, emphasizing the importance of having a positive mindset and always aiming higher. The young achievers were advised to expand their skills and put them into practice, even if they were not employed yet. Mr Alex also congratulated them for the pleasant feedback they've been receiving from other employers.
Three trainees spoke briefly about their learning experience and expressed gratitude for their trainers and sponsors. One outstanding student, Clarage Achevi, shared her inspiring personal journey from having a degree in Electrical Engineering to venturing into the Welding course, something she wasn't quite fond of. However, after the encouragement from her mentors, she joined the course and exceeded expectations with her performance which landed her a job at Bamburi Cement immediately. These impressive testimonies confirmed what the youth can achieve when granted mentorship and learning opportunities.
Mr Peter Waweru from AVA stated the importance of partnerships which aim to bridge the gap between students and career opportunities. He humorously narrated how he trained the female attachees to integrate into the industry where they had to change their mode of dressing, walking and acting to fit in. Even though the company was previously male-dominated, Mr Waweru contentedly stated that the company is working towards having a gender balance and is now 21% female.
Furthermore, Mr Waweru expressed their desire to empower their attachees by granting them well-paying job opportunities that can enhance their personal growth.
A representative of the Mombasa Business Centre, Miss M. Yatani, encouraged the graduates to register with the National Employment Authority (NEA) for employment opportunities. She also emphasized the importance of having commitment, good behaviour and offering value to one's employers. This is because, while skills can get one a job, it is these three traits that keep one in the company.
Mr Eddy Oloo and Ms Eve Muriithi from GIZ congratulated the graduates and advised them to keep aiming higher and be proactive in building skills. Ms Eve highlighted the materials, PPEs and stipends that were granted by GIZ to the trainees during their training. Additionally, they did capacity-building exercises and training for the trainers. They both shared their aim of empowering and shaping a future worth living, especially for women. Mr Oloo reminisced on the great journey the students went through and expressed his faith in leadership positions being granted to the learners shortly. He also stated their goal for the trainees to move from acquiring skills to earning from their efforts.
These opportunities demystify the common myth that Mombasa women are not competent in such fields. The evidence is in the huge numbers of female graduates this year. Nonetheless, Mr Oloo also shared that they do not intend to neglect the boy child. Rather, he clarified that when women acquire these skills, it removes the dependence women have on the male child in families. It not only lightens their burden but also adds value and complements the efforts of the boy child. He shared that this is a key milestone for the trainers, the university, the sponsors and all stakeholders involved.
The graduates acquired more helpful tips and inspiration from the Vice-chair of the TUM TVET board of management Dr Ikwai Samuel, COD of Mechanical Engineering and the registrar AP, Dr Shivani Patel. Echoing the words of the previous speakers, they motivated the graduates to be visionaries and to only consider the sky as their lower limit.
The graduation celebration became livelier with the cheerful speech by the Vice Chancellor, Prof Laila Abubakar. She was highly impressed with the kind of skills the trainees attained and congratulated them for their exemplary work. Furthermore, she encouraged the graduates to use the attachment period as a selling point for their skills and to strive to be extraordinary by doing extra work and volunteering in the attachment company.
Prof Laila also advised the youth to utilize social media platforms to market their skills online to acquire gigs and even employment. She also motivated the learners to not wait for opportunities and start their businesses by applying for the available micro and SME loans and government funds.
She expressed her deep gratitude to the sponsors, the TUM fraternity and other stakeholders for making this graduation a reality.
To wrap up, the graduates excitedly received certificates and gift packages from GIZ. There was also a vote of thanks and a short prayer from the trainees. This remarkable event ended with a joyful photo session and a delectable lunch gathering for all the attendees.