Industrial welding skills programme

Seventy students graduate from the industrial welding skills programme in Turkana and Garissa, Kenya

The ILO in Kenya collaborated with the East African Institute of Welding (EAIW), the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the county governments of Turkana and Garissa to introduce a six-month welder training programme to empower youth, provide them with employment-relevant skills and address the mismatch between skills and jobs available in the labour market in Turkana and Garissa counties.

News | 13 July 2021
Under the PROSPECTS partnership, the ILO in Kenya sought to increase the number of refugees and host community members who have access to quality and relevant education and skills training, in an effort to enhance their socio-economic inclusion and resilience. The ILO collaborated with the East African Institute of Welding (EAIW), the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the county governments of Turkana and Garissa to introduce a six-month welder training programme to empower the youth, provide them with employability skills and address the mismatch between skills and jobs available on the job market in Turkana and Garissa counties. The programme enrolled 70 out-of-school youth aged 15–34 years from host (60 per cent) and refugee (40 per cent) communities, with 50 per cent representation from the two counties.

The students were taken through a curriculum of an international standard (ISO 9606) and three national qualifications – Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Certification Development and Accreditation Council (CDACC) Level 4 Welding, and the Fabrication Qualification – bringing together practical skills, theory and work-based learning. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in line with Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint 2019, which pursues a move towards a digitally enabled society, a blended learning approach was also adopted. Students learned theoretical parts of the programme thanks to a Learning Management System (LMS) on tablets and computers made available to them. The main objective of the programme was to provide market-relevant skills in TVET by using the Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) curriculum in welding. For this aim, students underwent 180 hours of practical welder training at the institution, covering fillet, plate and pipe welding, coupled with skills in numeracy, communication, digital literacy, entrepreneurship, employability and environmental literacy.

Through the affiliate members of the KAM, the 70 trainees were placed in 15 businesses to apply their new skills in an industrial setting. This Work-Based Learning (WBL) allowed them to deepen their understanding of time management and teamwork around the production of vehicle bodies, water tanks and construction equipment (wheelbarrows, spades, and so on). To prepare trainees for the entrepreneurial world, the one-week Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training module was delivered by the ILO, with practical lessons on how to generate business ideas and start businesses. The programme culminated in a graduation ceremony in the East Africa Institute of Welding campus in Kitengela on Tuesday 29 June 2021. Some government officials and directors of institutions attended the event, including the Governor of Garissa County, county executive members for education of Turkana County, representatives of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Chairman of Turkana County, a representative of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, and TVET directors for Turkana and Garissa counties.

In his speech, H. E. Mr Ali Korane, the Governor of Garissa County, applauded the partnership between the county and the ILO, as well as the support provided to young people in order to gain skills that are sought after for the job market in Garissa.

Congratulations to the graduates, and special thanks to the ILO for proving the importance of partnerships in implementing programmes through the successes achieved. To build on this initiative, my government will participate in providing the necessary resources for the training in the next cohort and even explore the possibility of having programmes to give the necessary equipment for these young people to start their own businesses."

H. E. Ali Korane, Governor of Garissa County
H. E. Ali Korane, Governor of Garissa County
He went on further to urge the programme team to explore the possibilities of providing training at levels 5 and 6, which would further expose the graduates to international markets. He addressed the students:

Personally, I would like also to recommend that you explore the possibility of conquering more space in certification, by reaching other levels such as 5 and 6 in order to get more opportunities. I am aware that there are many opportunities for welding in some countries abroad. So far, we have received many inquiries from Canada and Qatar. Now that we have skills developed and people certified, we could continue talking to them to explore whether they can recruit the graduates to provide the services they need."

H. E. Ali Korane, Governor of Garissa County
H. E. Ali Korane, Governor of Garissa County handing a certificate to a female graduate

We congratulate the graduates for attaining this milestone that will open opportunities for you in wage or self-employment; we hope that you will contribute towards more jobs creation as your ventures grow and expand."

Ms Caroline Njuki, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO
Ms Caroline Njuki, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO
Out of the 68 graduates of Level 4 and Level 3 certifications, 12 were female, and there were two persons with disabilities. Graduates were awarded four qualifications: the TVET CDACC certificate for welding (Level 4);
  • the ISO 9606 certificate of international standards in welding, enabling the holder to work anywhere in the world as an internationally recognized certified welder;
  • the National Construction Authority certificate allowing the holder to be registered as a contractor in the construction industry;
  • the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training module, which is part of the ILO entrepreneurship training course.
The courses aimed at equipping the students for self-employment and will certainly help them obtain a wage increase. Most of the candidates expressed their interest in opening welding workshops and in producing everyday materials needed in their communities, including spades, wheelbarrows and stand-alone steel water tanks. By way of example, William Loroo Lowan, who has a disability, plans to use his recently acquired skills to produce walking aids for people with mobility impairments. He is committed to supplying the community in sufficient quantities.
William Loroo Lowan and the walking aid he made.
The valedictorian David Bahizire narrated his experience during the training, urging his fellow graduates to be proactive and prepare for the greater challenges ahead.

I remember when I was selected for this scholarship. I left home in Kakuma six months ago, but I was not sure about the benefits […]. This scholarship was an opportunity for us all to visit Nairobi for the first time. We were prepared to learn, explore, make new friends and get welding skills. However, it wasn’t easy to adapt to the new environment, new people and new food. Finally, we stand here today saying that we are proud and thankful for this golden opportunity that was given."

David Bahizire from Kakuma
David Bahizire from Kakuma.

A total of 16 graduates were retained by various companies. Two were hired by PROMA Engineering for employment in steel water tank building. Four were offered paid internships at Ashut Industries and will be offered permanent contracts at the end, provided that the evaluation of their performances is satisfying. Ten other candidates were also offered paid internships at Proto Energy to train in submerged welding and packaging of gases in gas cylinders. During the graduation ceremony, all speakers underlined the tremendous milestone achieved and encouraged the graduates to take advantage of this knowledge to enhance their livelihoods in their communities and encourage the rest of their peers at home to enroll for future skills training.