Base Titanium “Base” has held a graduation to mark the end of its second intake of apprentices. The program was run in collaboration with the National Industrial Training Institute (NITA) and targeted 10 recent form-four leavers who had ambitions to become qualified light vehicle mechanics.
The programme was designed to allow for maximum on the job practical experience so the graduating students would be “job ready” for their next employer. NITA designed and delivered the theoretical component through an intense, condensed classroom program which was supplemented by direct practical application on the job.
The first apprentice programme was launched in collaboration with the Technical University (TUM) of Mombasa in 2014. This was a 3-year Diploma programme targeting 20 apprentices who were selected from areas directly impacted by the Base Titanium Kwale mine. The program successfully produced qualified electricians, boilermakers and heavy vehicle motor mechanics. The twenty, while currently working on a short-term upgrade project at Base, are developing a business plan to set up a trade cooperative business to provide qualified domestic and commercial trade services on the coast.
During the graduation event Mr. Paul Thompson the Occupational Health, Safety and Training Manager at Base Titanium, noted that, “This is a program we are proud of. We have been able to work with tertiary institutions to design two courses that are real and meet the needs of industry. We will now begin to bridge the known skills gaps in trade skill areas and enable industry players to access job ready talent. Such programmes will be key to enticing large-scale investors to the mining sector and will ultimately assist in Kenya’s economic transformation. What we need is more industry players to join us in our journey, giving Kenya’s youth access to real on the job training.”
NITA commended Base on its training programmes and urged that they be used as a model for other programs to ensure a consistent approach to skills transfer across other Kenyan industries and organisations. Following the success of the first two programmes, Base and NITA signed a third Memorandum of Understanding that will see them mounting the third apprentice programme to commence in October 2017.
The programme will have 24 students pursuing a Mechanical, Automotive or Electrical craft certificate at NITA’s Mombasa campus. The company has invested over KES 16 million in its apprentice training programmes and believes the return on the investment has been threefold.
The Ministry of Mining envisages a growth target for the mining sector to contribute 10% to GDP by 2030. Mining companies will play a significant role in providing some of the key ingredients, including capacity building, to attract further large-scale investments in the mining sector to meet its targets.