Empowering youth through welding training and job placements

The Turkana County Government, in collaboration with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the East African Institute of Welding (EAIW), will offer a five-month industrial welding skills programme to youth from the refugee and host communities.

News | 21 September 2020
Contact(s): njuki@ilo.org
Turkana County is one of Kenya’s most marginalized areas, with difficult socio-economic conditions that include food insecurity, limited access to basic social services, limited economic infrastructure, and poor livelihood opportunities.

The county is home to Kakuma refugee camp and the Kalobeyei integrated settlements, with a population of 196,666 refugees according to the latest figures from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. The refugees, as well as the host communities, are struggling to find sustainable ways of reducing poverty.

The Turkana County Government in the north of Kenya, in collaboration with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the East African Institute of Welding (EAIW), will offer a five-month industrial welding skills programme to youth from the refugee and host communities. The programme is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The first class will target at least 70 youth, with successive classes taking in more students. The training, which is the first of its kind, will incorporate a blended training approach with an emphasis on practical work.

The aim of the programme is to prepare refugees and members of the host communities for the labour market by ensuring that they have skills that are in demand, and that these skills are recognized and certified. It also prepares them for self-employment and gives them the entrepreneurial skills that enable them to become job creators.

Owing to the government infrastructure projects planned, as well as the oil and gas exploration that is ongoing in these counties (including the construction of a pipeline), it is predicted that industrial welding skills will be in high demand, especially from the local communities.
According to Caroline Njuki, Chief Technical Advisor for ILO PROSPECTS in Kenya, “Industrial welding skills will help refugees and hosting communities to seek employment opportunities in Kenya, but also in their countries of origin upon their return, as well as in other East African countries where these skills are highly sought-after and are projected to remain in demand”.

At the end of the programme, the trainees will be certified in three levels: fillet welder, plate welder and pipe welder. After each level, the trainees will receive nationally recognized certificates aligned to the qualification framework and standards of Kenya. The three key skills acquired at each level are: manual metal arc welding; metal inert and active gas welding; and tungsten inert gas welding.
“We look to empower youth from marginalized communities with practical skills that will help them to transition into wage employment or self-employment at a standard that is relevant and appreciated by industry locally and regionally." Malcolm Marega, Principal at East African Institute of Welding.

The fact that training is pursued jointly by employers and training providers means that it is more attractive, as it strengthens the link between supply and demand that is needed to boost the transition from training to employment. Affiliate members of KAM are given the opportunity to identify talent while imparting the most up-to-date industrial training for the various sectors.

In line with the objectives of PROSPECTS, the training will also strengthen the joint capacity of KAM, EAIW and the Turkana County Government to design, coordinate and implement blended dual training programmes.