By Claire Wanja
Construction of a multi-million shilling vocational training center in Nairobi’s Dandora area has started.
The vocational center, to be built at a cost of Ksh180 million is a collaborative effort between Kia Motors, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Nairobi City County Government and Good Neighbors Kenya.
Dubbed Green Light Project, it will sit on a 2,000 square meters piece of land at Dandora Primary School. It is expected to be complete in the first half of 2017.
Youth in the area are set to benefit from training in vehicle maintenance, fashion design and garment making technology as well as internship opportunities at Kia Motors. The center will also employ Dandora residents and enlist 100 young trainees each year.
“In supporting the establishment of the center, we hope to encourage the development of successful, community-operated businesses that have a genuinely positive local impact. It is our hope that the center will help alleviate unemployment particularly among the young and provide a valuable service to people who rely on absolute vehicle reliability for their day-to- day livelihood,” said Chang-Muk Choi, head of the CSR Management Team at Kia Motors Corporation.
Mr. Choi, who was speaking during the ground breaking ceremony in Dandora, added that Kia’s program aims to provide local communities with the means and infrastructure to build better lives for themselves.
On his part, Nairobi City County Governor Dr. Evans Kidero said the project was in line with his government’s objective of providing effective and affordable vocational training opportunities to promote economic empowerment especially for the vulnerable in the city.
“Technical skills are vital for poverty reduction and sustainable development in Kenya,” said Kidero
The Green Light Project facilities will help increase the number of vehicle mechanics and raise employment levels. Kia Motors estimates that the center will have a positive impact on the lives of over 2,000 citizens.
In future, Kia plans to support the establishment of local repair shops adjacent to each site thus creating further jobs and opportunities in Dandora.
Out of the 522,870 candidates who sat last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, 131,715 scored grade D and below meaning they cannot be absorbed into professional courses as qualifications for such courses is C grade. That makes vocational training the best option for them.
In his state of the nation address this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke of the need to enhance the employability of Kenyan youth by equipping them with appropriate technical skills. He noted that the labor market has a huge deficit of technical skills. To close the gap, the government had completed construction of 54 new Technical Training Institutes and plans to construct an additional 76.