Some of the trainees are working with clamps mounted on work benches, engrossed in making basic fabricated tools such as spanners and door locks.
It is a step by step learning process, and once they have mastered the skills in basic metal fabrication they will advance to actual arc welding. The work is hard, but the learners’ spirit is amazing.
“People told me it would be difficult work and that I probably won’t handle it yet here I am, and I know I will do this,” says Caroline Bosire.
She is one of the youth taking up metal arc welding. The training is a partnership between Kuza and African Gas and Oil Limited (AGOL) company, a Liquid Petroleum Gas handling private firm based in Mombasa.
Of the about 80 trainees, none had prior craftsmanship experience before this opportunity.
“It’s been three weeks and I can now work with a hacksaw to cut up pieces of metal, do the measurements and (metal) filing, and soon I will start to weld,” adds Caroline.
In a different section of the workshop, another group of youth that have already passed through the basic tools making stage are now learning the first ropes in actual welding, sending up luminous flashes of light with every touch of a welding stick.
Delivered at the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) facility, the training will equip the young men and women not only with the hard skills of the trade but also employability skills such as professionalism, communication and integrity.
The technical components of the course takes the students through arc welding training (horizontal/vertical welding, flat position, MIG gas welding and gas cutting), occupational safety and health, compliance and regulations for welding businesses.
It also has a heavy emphasis on industry exposure, with site visits arrangements to private companies engaged in the industry. In January for instance, the trainees toured companies like Weldwell Ltd and GISA Engineering and Painting Ltd.
These have helped the new welders acquire a range of knowledge and skills on site management, team work, dos and donts of welding technicians, as well as detailed briefings on welding tools, accessories and equipment.
Kuza works closely with industry in Mombasa to identify technical skills needs and support relevant training through linkages with private and public vocational training providers. Training is industry-led, practical and intensive, narrowing the gap between the world of training and the world of work.
More on Kuza-supported vocational skills training here.