Training programme that “Empowers, Skills, Employs”

The two refugee-hosting counties in Kenya, Turkana and Garissa, are classified as Arid or Semi-Arid (ASAL) and are home to some of the traditionally marginalized national populations with limited resources. Hosting large numbers of refugees for over two decades has further exacerbated the socio-economic development challenges for both host and refugee communities. The youth population in these areas have few employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, particularly as a result of limited labor market information and mismatched skills.

Having gained a more detailed understanding of the challenges, ILO PROSPECTS Kenya partnered with Turkana and Garissa county governments, the East Africa Institute of Welding (EAIW) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to deliver a dual-learning welding skills programme accessible to refugee and host communities. Seventy young people, including 14 women and two persons with disabilities, were selected through a competitive recruitment process in November and December 2020. The process involved several partners, including the county governments, UNHCR, EAIW and Film Aid Kenya.

Interview sessions in Turkana and Garissa counties.

The young people’s training journeys began on 11 January 2021 with the official “flagging off” by county government representatives as the students boarded their buses to Nairobi for a five-month specialized welder training programme at EAIW, which will culminate in work-based learning activities supported by KAM through its affiliate members.

Congratulations goes to all of you for accepting this offer and I would love to urge you all to work hard to gain these skills. Remember you are the first beneficiaries of the programme and your performance matters a lot. My hope is you will take full advantage of this opportunity, enhance your skills and hence make Turkana County proud. “

Hon Pauline Lokuruka, Chief Officer Education, Sports and Social Protection, Turkana County Government.

Turkana County Director of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mr Stephen Eregae, applauded the partnership between the county government and the ILO Stating: “This shall enable our young people to tap into rare skills that have not been promoted in the county for some time. Young people should have a more positive attitude towards skills development and help promote entrepreneurship in the region.”

The main objective of the programme is to provide market-relevant skills through TVET using Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) curriculum in welding. The programme builds these skills through three levels: welder training at level 1 (known as fillet welding), level 2 (plate welding) and level 3 (pipe Welding). The soft skills and work-based learning components qualify the graduates for the TVET-CDACC (Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council) level 4 welding and fabrication certification that means that the training is situated within the national accreditation framework.

Students working on a project during a practical lesson on level 1 fillet welding.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with Kenya Vision 2030 which pursues a move towards a digitally-enabled society, a blended learning approach was adopted in this programme. This meant that theoretical aspects, such as digital literacy, entrepreneurship, environmental literacy, communication skills, numeracy skills, employability and occupational safety and health skills, were delivered digitally through a learning management system.

A group of students at the East African Institute of Welding.

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