German fund GIZ partners with HF Group to train Kenya artisans

Workers mix concrete at a construction site.
Workers mix concrete at a construction site. PHOTE/FILE
As shortage of skilled labour continues to undermine Kenya’s economic growth, a German fund has partnered with a local foundation to train artisans in occupations related to construction.

GIZ has teamed up with HF Foundation to train and mentor youths on careers in construction as part of a strategy to help bridge the widening technical skills gap in the country.

The initiative, which runs between 2017 and 2018, targets to train 450 youths who will also access practical internship opportunities at HF Group’s on-going projects.

According to Caroline Sikasa, programs manager of HF Foundation, there is need for enhancement of a robust curriculum for technical courses to boost skills among artisans.

“The programme will ensure competency-based education and training which is demand-driven and also promotes enterprise culture so as to offer a wide range of employment opportunities to the youth,” Ms Sikasa said.

The programme will be undertaken at HF Group’s gated community Komarock Heights, which is currently underway off Kangundo Road in Nairobi.

The project has facilitated the training of more than 500 artisans since it was launched in September 2015.

HF Group has attributed the success of the training programme to partnerships with contractors such as Ultra Power Systems, Wesco Electrical and Electronic Engineering Company, Mantoy Enterprises, CM Construction, Vee Vee Enterprises, Levitz Construction and Jinsing Enterprises.

READ: Germany sketches big plan to tackle Kenya’s skills shortage

Kenya is currently experiencing an acute shortage of skilled construction workers, which is now emerging as one of the biggest impediments to overcoming the country’s housing deficit.

The shortage has been largely attributed to recent trends where students shun technical education in favour of courses that lead to white collar jobs – a situation that has raised construction labour costs.

A last year survey by this newspaper revealed that daily dues for certified artisans had gone up to between Sh2,000 and Sh2,500 from between Sh500 and Sh1,000 in 2012 – with artisans in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu charging more.

The National Construction Authority (NCA) – the regulator of the local construction industry has recently partnered with several organisations to train artisans as part of an ambitious plan to train a million craftsmen in the next four years.