The Kabete National Polytechnic is now Kenya’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) in scaffolding.
Scaffolds are structures on the outside of buildings under construction, repair or cleaning that workmen stand on. They mostly comprise of wooden planks and metal poles, and are widely used to get access heights.
The project is being implemented by various partners, including the Kenya Federation of Master Builders (KFMB), Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutions, in conjunction with two German institutions; the Chamber of Skilled Crafts Frankfurt Rhein-Main and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Giessen-Friedberg.
“The project aims at introducing a more demand-driven and practice-oriented vocational training to improve the employability of young people in Kenya,” said KFMB Technical Director David Jomeli.
Under the Kenya Initiative for Vocational Training and Education project, the initiative will support the implementation of needs-based and practice-oriented training courses that combine theoretical and practical training.
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Jomeli, who is also managing director of a Mombasa-based company - David Malidadi Construction and Supplies - said scaffold work was usually done by masons, carpenters or painters preparing temporary working platforms for access purposes.
“(Scaffolding) wasn’t an own professional occupation in Kenya up to now. It is found in the curriculum of technical vocational education and training programmes, but was mostly only a unit of about four hours, which introduced the topic briefly,” he said.
The National Construction Authority (NCA) in defining professional occupations relevant for the construction industries in Kenya in February 2016, identified 59 professional fields, he added.
“Scaffolding is one of them and NCA has developed a draft occupational standard for scaffolding.”
In partnership with NCA, Kabete Polytechnic conducted a training needs assessment for scaffolding, health and safety and thereafter conducted workshops for trainers and instructors of several technical training institutions and industries aimed at informing syllabus development and the establishment of the CoE.
The polytechnic already received scaffold equipment through the support of the Chamber of Skilled Crafts Frankfurt.
The concept of a CoE allows the polytechnic to offer training courses for student programmes and be a link to industries by offering tailor-made programmes.