More vocational training centres are increasingly presenting students to take national tests administered by the national examination council.
An analysis of a report by the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) shows that some 1,765 candidates received their craft certificates for their July 2020 exams.
These tests were done in January 2021, owing to a delay caused by Covid-19.
The Knec report titled Vocational Training Centres Offering Certificate Courses shows that out of the candidates who sat the exams, some 1,072 received artisan certificates while 539 were presented with the National Vocational Certificate of Education and Training (NVCET).
Further analysis of the report shows that six per cent, representing about 102 candidates, were from vocational training centres while 94 per cent, representing 1,660, were from technical and vocational colleges.
National Vocational Certificate of Education and Training presented 539 candidates with certificates. Out of these, 92 per cent representing 443 candidates were from vocational training centres. The rest were presented by technical and vocational colleges.
An independent analysis of the Knec report by the Association of Vocational Trainers in Kenya shows that vocational training centres (VTC) that presented candidates were Sergoek VTC in Uasin Gishu with 52 candidates, St Columbus VTC in Kitui 24 candidates, Beacon of Hope VTC in Kajiado 22 candidates and Mago VTC in Vihiga two candidates.
The report by Mogaka Nyambukora, the chairman of the Association of Vocational Trainers in Kenya, shows that out of the total 102 VTC candidates, food and beverage sales and production course attracted the highest number at 42, electrical and electronics engineering came second with 17 candidates, fashion design and garment making had 14 candidates while catering and accommodation had 13.
Building technology had nine candidates, plumbing technology presented four and welding and fabrication had one candidate.
The admission requirement for these craft certificate courses is KCSE D Plain.
For artisan certificates, Knec report shows that 43 per cent, representing 457 candidates, were from vocational training centres while 57 per cent (615) were from technical and vocational colleges.
Mogaka said that craft courses were an important opportunity to spend dedicated time thinking, exploring and challenging.
"They bring skills, but also present a chance for conversation and innovation," he said.
As Kenya's creative sector booms, demand for the skills of highly qualified crafts-people is surging.
Further, in a country where the country's leaders repeatedly fail to create jobs as pledged in their manifestos, Kenyans are highly dependent on employment from the informal sector.
In fact, the 2021 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics estimated that a massive 77 per cent of the total workforce is generated by the informal sector.
Overall, vocational training centres that presented candidates were Sergoek VTC in Uasin Gishu, Ndere VTC in Siaya, Mugundoi VTC in Uasin Gishu, Nanyuki VTC in Laikipia and Dandora Greenlight VTC in Nairobi County.
Others were Beacon of Hope VTC (Kajiado), St Peter's Emulakha VTC (Kakamega), Andersen VCT (Trans-Nzoia), Kisumu Urban Apostolate VTC, and Ngiya VTC in Siaya.
Of the total number of candidates, 129 studied food and beverage production, and sales.
Electrical installations attracted 71 candidates, plumbing had 64, motor vehicle mechanics with 51, Masonry 20, garment making attracted 18 while welding and fabrication and general agriculture attracted one each.
However, it emerged that some artisan courses did not attract candidates. These were painting and decorations, carpentry and joinery, home care management, seafarers, leatherwork and shoemaking, and air conditioning and refrigeration.
Mogaka, while appreciating the vocational trainers, said the tutors faced major challenges that stakeholders should address.
"A majority of vocational trainers are poorly paid; others have never been promoted yet many were yet to have their contracts confirmed despite working for long," he said.
Mogaka noted that these challenges affect the morale of trainers.
"A lot of these centres are poorly equipped while others are being converted to other uses," he added.