The Government will ensure that there are enough trained Kenyans to operate and maintain the Standard Gauge Railway line once it is commissioned next year.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, James Macharia said that the Government was determined to ensure that Kenyans get the requisite skills and training to be able to run and service the SGR on completion of the project.

“Skills transfer is a key component of the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract that we signed with the contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation at project commencement. It is a provision that we are keenly implementing, in collaboration with the CRBC by tooling our people for the task ahead,” said the CS.

The CS spoke at the graduation ceremony for the first batch of technicians who have been undergoing training at the Railway Training Institute in Nairobi at the hands of trainers from both the RTI and China.

He lauded the collaborative efforts of the RTI, CRBC and Kenya Railways Corporation in making sure that the technicians get the requisite skills, noting that the graduates had been equipped to make a critical contribution in what is envisioned to be a modern and expansive railway infrastructure for Kenya in the near future. He also described the training as a great showcase for the strength in Kenya-China relations.

Citing other ongoing initiatives to equip young Kenyans with the necessary skills to man the SGR infrastructure, the CS expressed overall satisfaction with them.

“As a country, we are on the cusp of something great. Only recently, I had the privilege of visiting Beijing Jiaotong University and interacting with some of our students who are studying railway technology and management at that institution. I also held very fruitful discussions with institution’s management as a result of which they promised to give training opportunities for more Kenyans in the relevant fields,” said the CS.

CRBC is currently constructing the first phase of the SGR project between the port city of Mombasa and Nairobi, which is expected to be ready for use sometime next year. 

Work on the first segment of the second phase between Nairobi and Naivasha has already commenced. The SGR, once in use, is expected to improve speed and capacity of railway transport in Kenya, greatly improving trade not just between Mombasa and its vast hinterland, which also includes Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern parts of DR Congo, but also internally.

Under a robust skills transfer system, the RTI’s curriculum has been expanded, making it a center of excellence in infrastructure construction and management not just for Kenya but the entire Northern Corridor and running programs of the type the graduates have benefited from. 

Another second component, which is slated for expansion, has seen Kenyans go to study railway engineering and management in Chinese institutions of higher learning, starting with Jiaotong University. 

The graduation ceremony for the first batch of technicians trained under the SGR program at RTI was attended by top officials from the Chinese Embassy in Kenya; KRC, which is the implementing agency for the SGR; RTI; EPC contractor CRBC and the Ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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