County in drive to promote vocational training
Youth Polytechnics in Nakuru County are being revamped at a cost of Sh.47.8 million, Governor Lee Kinyanjui has said.
Kinyanjui reaffirmed his government’s commitment in ensuring the country has sufficient skilled manpower to drive the Big Four Agenda.
He said the county government has introduced a grant to all youth who have enrolled in vocational centers, with each student receiving full sponsorship of Sh.15, 000.
“The first batch of 1, 700 students has just received the grant totaling to Sh.25.5million. The County is rolling out an aggressive campaign to achieve more enrollments in these vocational institutions,” said Kinyanjui.
In an interview with KNA on Tuesday, the governor noted that the devolved unit intended to establish 23 more polytechnics through ward development programmes to equip more youth with technical skills.
The devolved unit had further initiated an internship program to ensure that those graduating got attached to various institutions for them to acquire experience.
Kinyanjui emphasized that for the nation to industrialize and become a middle level income, “we have no choice other than to ensure we have sufficient technical skills”.
He said they were equipping the youth with technical skills even as the county braces for major projects, including the Standard Gauge Railway extension to Naivasha, construction of 2, 000 affordable housing units and an Industrial Park in Naivasha.
“There are many projects that will take place in the County in the near future. We are closing the gap on vocational training to produce more graduates with the technical skills to address the development needs mainly the Big Four agenda,” noted Kinyanjui.
The governor expressed optimism that in future, all the eleven sub-counties in the region would have a well-equipped major polytechnic.
Currently, there are 25 vocational centers spread across the sub-counties, with an enrolment of 1, 684 students and 158 instructors.
This number is expected to rise in March next year after the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations results are released.
“To realize the expected level of competences in our youth training in the polytechnics, equipping these centers with sufficient and relevant equipment as well as competent instructors is inevitable,” said Kinyanjui.
“On average, polytechnics offer 12 courses hence it would require 24 instructors per a polytechnic but for now, each has between 6-7 instructors,” he said.
The governor attributed the low enrollment to stigma associated with polytechnics, which led to youth unemployment and poverty due to lack of vocational skills.
The governor said though the county had a wide range of employment opportunities in agriculture, textiles, construction industries, motor industry, electrical welding and installation, less emphasis on skilled oriented training has led to shortages in skilled work force.
“This is why we are doing face lifting to all polytechnics and equipping them so that youth will be comfortable joining them. Their past neglect has contributed to the scornful way they are looked at,” he observed.
He said the Nakuru Youth Polytechnic within the town was currently offering 12 courses, instilling hands-on skills that were in great demand in the job market for young people.
“Giving young people hands on proficiency will make them employable and also build their capacity for self-employment initiatives,” he added.
Kinyanjui noted that the current developments in the country that required multi-skilled workforce, hands on skills were becoming crucial.
Thus, he urged parents to embrace polytechnics saying the county government would extend its bursary support to the institutions.
“We inherited 19 polytechnics from the national government which were in a sorry state. We have managed to add more and improve the existing ones to a great existent,” he noted.
A lot of the funds have gone into construction of classrooms, workshops and equipping the institutions with furniture and training tools,” he said.
The governor indicated that the curriculum being developed for the polytechnics would ensure career progression even to the professorship level.
By Anne Mwale