Most technical and engineering graduates do not fit standards required by the job market. This is according to Samsung Electronics East Africa, which has opened academies across Africa to fill the gap.
In its endeavour to develop critical technical and engineering skills across Kenya, the company on Wednesday churned out 98 graduates from the Nairobi-based Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy.
The class of 2013 is the second cohort to graduate from the Academy that was opened in 2012, being part of the Samsung Electronics broader goal to develop skilled electronics engineers across the continent.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Samsung Electronics East and Central Africa Vice President, Mr. Robert Ngeru, said that the company had invested close to Ksh21.7 million (US$250,000) in the setting up of the academy at Nairobi Westlands area, and spends more than Ksh16 million (US$185,000) annually in taking the students through the program.
“Africa is facing a critical shortage of technical and engineering hands-on skills. But going through the one year training program at the academy, which includes nine months of practical class work and three months of field internships, we are bound to see massive improvement in engineering competence across Kenya and Africa as a whole,” said Ngeru.
Samsung will absorb 50% of the graduates as they get jobs at the Samsung partner centres, distributors’ partners, brand shops, the contact centre and the company’s service centre.
Last year, 176 students graduated and 40% of them got employed within Samsung or their partners.
Mr. Ngeru mentioned that the company was looking at the possibility of taking in all the Class of 2014 students into the Samsung ecosystem, in light of increased competition in the market.
As part of the company’s global ‘Hope for Children’ initiative, four engineering academies have been opened in Africa; South Africa (2011), Kenya and Nigeria (2012) and Ethiopia (2013).
The students are recruited from leading technical institutions located in Nairobi. Their selection is based on the student performance in their respective courses and the students have to be in their final year of study at the university. The selected students are from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Information Technology and Scientific Computing and the School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.
The trainees receive free hands-on training with Samsung’s top of the range equipment where they are taken through the following modules: Hand Held Products (HHP), Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Audio/Video and Home Appliances (AV/HA) and Computers & Printing Technologies.
After the nine months practical class work, the trainees are sent out for three months internship. The top performing students are offered opportunities at Samsung while the rest are taken in by Samsung partner institutions.
As technology evolves, the training undertaken by the academy graduates on these new developments places them at unique positions to quickly secure employment as service technicians.
To witness the 98 students receive their certifications this year were human resource managers from 27 companies who engaged the students with the possibility of offering them job opportunities.
“We endear to serving our clients better in all our product business units. Customers are entitled to the best service and that should include our after sales services as part of our commitment to superior technology, best electronic innovation and experience backed by our 2 years warranty,” he added.
The ‘Hope for Children’ initiative places a strategic focus on bringing attention to the worldwide need for childhood education and healthcare in an effort to improve communities worldwide.