Earlier this year we celebrated the graduation of 130 students who completed a one-month course in masonry.
All the students, who have come from underprivileged backgrounds, were selected to receive this free training as part of our project with Actis, a leading growth markets' investment firm, to equip 300 youths with skills in masonry, carpentry, plumbing, tiling, scaffolding and plastering, in one year.
The event was held at the Garden City Mall in Nairobi, where we proudly awarded the alumni with an internationally accredited certification. The training aims to help young community members in the surrounding Garden City area to secure their livelihood by equipping them with quality training that meets global standards.
A life changing story
Ms Lillian Ashioya could not hide her joy when she was presented with her certificate.
"I want to thank everyone who has taken part in my training. You all know how hard it is to get a job nowadays without skills, and this has made many youths suffer. I now have skills" said Ms Ashioya, addressing the fellow graduates and guests at the graduation ceremony.
Before the training, Ms Ashioya, who is married with three children, has taken up several menial jobs at construction sites around Ruaraka on the outskirts of Nairobi before landing a cleaning job at Garden City shopping mall.
"I am delighted that I will now be able to not only mop floors of buildings, but also participate in their construction with my newly acquired skills".
Training beyond hard skills
The training provided goes beyond the hard skills related to construction; it also includes life skills. The learners were taught how to conduct themselves in interviews to maximise their chances of getting hired, as well as punctuality, hygiene, and personal grooming to help them once they are hired, and methods to start saving and investing.
Mr Peter Kimurwa, CEO of Arc Skills Kenya, says,
"The training we provide imparts skills and positive behaviours, beneficial for the workers as well as the developer and contractor. When artisans are conversant with their roles on the construction site, they need minimal supervision and will do a substantial amount of work".
Kenya’s construction industry has an estimated shortfall of about 30,000 engineers, 90,000 technicians and 400,000 artisans. The shortage of mid-level technicians and artisans is hampering the country’s economic growth prospects.
Of the young people who have been through the programme to date, nearly half have found employment, and our aim with Actis is to better the future for all our graduates, their families, their communities.
Mr Kimurwa adds,
“This collaboration forged with Actis has great promise to improve the construction industry by offering training and skills development solutions to tackle the critical skills gap.”
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