Housing Finance to train a million artisans

Workers at a road construction site in Nairobi.
Workers at a road construction site in Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
Mortgage lender Housing Finance (HF) has unveiled a massive training program to train one million artisans for the construction industry by 2016.

Through it’s newly founded corporate social investments arm, Housing Finance Foundation, the NSE-listed firm will train at least 250,000 artisans countrywide annually to 2016 in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

The initiative dubbed ‘Army of 1 million artisans’ flagship project’ seeks to build up workmanship in the construction industry.

HF said the initiative will concentrate on sharpening the skills of artisans through the  Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. This, according to the company, will be handy for Vision 2030 flagship projects such as LAPSSET Corridor and Konza Technology City.

“Technical and vocational education and training is the weakest link in the entire education system yet we require a skilled workforce to roll out projects identified in Vision 2030,” HF managing director Frank Ireri said during the launch of the program.

The programme is expected to create Kenya’s first data bank of certified artisans where firms can refer to when sourcing for services.

HF’s move has been welcome by industry players, most of whom say it will bring reprieve to an industry that is plagued by lack of qualified artisans.

“We have very few qualified artisans, especially painters and plumbers. The ‘Army of 1 million artisans’ flagship project’ will definitely play an important role in the sector,” said Njuguna Mutonga, a Nakuru property developer.

HF is taking advantage of the recently introduced Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Act 2012, which seeks to create a mechanism for promoting access and equity in training to assure standards, quality and relevance.

The Bill seeks to shift TVET from time-bound, curriculum-based training to flexible, competency-focused training.