January 10, 2019
In October 2018, a Humber College team comprising of Dr. Farzad Rayegani (Dean of Applied Technology) and Rebecca Fitzgerald (Manager of International Mobility and Partnerships), participated in a pan-Canadian economic mission to Africa. Organized by provincial governments across the country, in cooperation with Global Affairs Canada, the Team Canada Mission to Africa included Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Aligning with Humber’s Internationalization Strategy, this envoy aimed to position Humber for international development projects, promote new global learning opportunities for our community and expand on our existing partnerships in the region. With the guidance from Humber’s International Development Institute (IDI), the team sought to bolster Humber’s presence in Africa and seek out collaborations in training and capacity building in the areas of technical and vocational education and training (TVET), renewable energy, and clean technologies.
The urgent need for vocational training in Africa
The high industrial growth and economic development across Africa has led to an urgent need for skilled workers to meet the high demand across the continent. More than 10 million young Africans enter the workforce every year, but most lack the practical skills employers require. The result is a serious skills gap across many industries including construction, public works, and power and energy. This has led to many countries in Africa, including Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Kenya, moving to reform their existing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector to address this demand.
The trade mission provided us the opportunity to position Humber as a leading polytechnic institution in Canada with an interest and expertise to engage in TVET reforms and capacity building in Africa. In turn, we were also to gain a better understanding of the current skills gaps in the countries visited, the state of the TVET sector and opportunities for Humber to collaborate on current initiatives.
Advancing Renewable Energy in Africa
Africa is rich in renewable resources and prime to benefit from new developments in clean technology renewable energy. With this growing industry and investment from international players, the need for skilled employees with applied technical knowledge is high. Humber’s leading expertise in applied technology and innovation positions us to best respond to the multiple opportunities for new partnerships, and for faculty and staff to participate in training and capacity-building programs. This includes sharing of best practices in multi-stakeholder engagement and building public-private partnerships
The Team Canada Mission to Africa was a great success for Humber. We increased our understanding of the economic and educational environments in Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Kenya particularly in the areas of applied technology and renewable energy. We were able to lay the groundwork for promising partnerships that will provide ways for faculty, staff and students to engage in international development opportunities. We are positive and optimistic about a sustainable and long- term engagement for Humber in Africa.
Special thanks to the institutions that took part in organizing the mission, including the Governments of Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba, in cooperation with the Climate Finance Trade Commissioners at Global Affairs Canada.