Kericho County has emerged as one of the leading providers of quality vocational training, earning praise from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which has partnered with the county government to sponsor young people through the vocational training systems.
On February 6, Governor Paul Chepkwony and Deputy Governor Susan Kikwai joined USAID Senior Youth and Workforce Development Advisor Gregg Weltz at a colourful ceremony held at the Kipsamumgut Center of Excellence to launch a new phase of the Kenya Youth Employment and Skills (K-YES) program implemented by RTI International.
This program is expected to assist hundreds of youth access full sponsorships to pursue various courses in vocational centers of excellence across the county.
In the just concluded phase, 1200 youth benefitted from the program with a similar number expected to benefit under the new phase.
Prof Chepkwony said his administration had taken steps to promote vocational training to enable young people acquire the necessary technical and practical knowledge which would enable them to work in any sector in the country.
“We have tailored our curriculum to ensure that the courses that our students are taken through are in demand in the market. My government has also moved to equip the centers of excellence with the modern equipment and ensure that there are trained tutors to impart knowledge on the learners,” he said.
The County government has invested heavily in the education sector by constructing and equipping six state of the art Centers of Excellence in vocational training across the county each with an area of specialized training besides getting strategic partners to offer scholarships.
They are Chepseon Center of Excellence in Civil Engineering and Building Construction, Leldet Center of Excellence in Timber Technologies, Kipsamumgut Center of Excellence in Automotive Engineering, Kipkoyan Center of Excellence in Domestic Textile technologies, Kiptere Center of Excellence in Welding and Fabrication Technologies and Chemosot Center of Excellence in Conferencing and Hospitality Management.
Prof Chepkwony noted that following the investment by the county government, enrollment in these centers has tripled, with each facility now having more than 300 students, giving an increment in enrolment of 1800 students within a single year.
At the same time, the governor also signed memoranda of understanding with numerous organizations in and outside government which have partnered with the county government to provide internships and jobs for students who undergo training in the vocational institutions.
They included representatives from the sectors of manufacturing, hospitality, banking and financial services and medical services among other sectors.
Prof Chepkwony assured the participating firms that the county government through the department of Education, Culture and Social Services, would ensure that the high quality of education was maintained.
“I wish to thank these organizations. Providing our graduates with the opportunity to practice what they learn from our institutions of higher learning could propel them into great success in their various fields of interest,” he said.
Last year the county government held a series of inaugural graduations in the vocational centers which were highly successful.
Prof Chepkwony has also advised those who pass through the vocational centers to consider setting up their own businesses instead of relying on employment. He noted that this will reduce the levels of unemployment and contribute to national development.