Swiss apprenticeship project to help Kenya up skilled labour in construction sector

In Summary
  • There is a shortage of at least 3,000 plumbers, painters and masons in Kenya
  • The programme hopes to learn and adopt best practices from the successful and well-tested Swiss dual training model.
Hilti Foundation CEO Wallner Werner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Valentin Zellweger, National Industrial Training Authority Director Industrial Training William Mwanza and Anirban Bhowmik, Swisscontact CESAF Regional director
Image: HANDOUT

Swisscontact in Kenya and the Hilti Foundation have launched a project that promotes an employer-led dual apprenticeship system within the construction sector.

The initiative aims to develop a skilled workforce, through a combination of on-job training in companies and theoretical learning in vocational schools set up to meet the rising demand for technical skills in the market.

Speaking during the launch, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya Valentin Zellweger said the project is key in defining skills apprentices need to acquire and provide them with the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in the classrooms.

β€œIt fits very well with the situation that the country is experiencing because it brings concrete solutions to current difficulties,’’ Zellweger said. 

The programme hopes to learn and adopt best practices from the successful and well-tested Swiss dual training model.

The model will not be fully replicated but adopted to best suit vocational training to the Kenyan context and build on the existing to ensure continuation and replication,” said Anirban Bhowmik, Swisscontact Regional director in Central, East and Southern Africa.

Initially, it will support Kenyan companies to implement the system in two trades - plumbing and electrical installation.

In 2017, the Kenya Federation of Master Builders (KFMB) put the number of trained plumbers, painters, and masons at less than 2,000 compared to 5,000 engineers and architects countrywide, highlighting a general shortage of skilled artisans in the construction industry.

Hilti Foundation CEO Wallner Werner said the project's key principle is to help for self-help.

''Unlike financial donors; we invest in empowering people, enabling people so they can become active and lead a self-determined life,'' he said.