The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), which is carrying out the construction work on a new East African railway line in Kenya, on Tuesday launched a training center for local employees in the country’s coastal town of Voi.
The CRBC Technology Transfer Training Center aims to provide training for unskilled workers, and pass on new skills to those already engaged in the work on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.
With the curriculum spanning railway construction, operation and management, the first phase of the training program will take three months and is expected to cover more than 200 Kenyan engineers, technicians and artisans.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Han Feng, the SGR project’s deputy manager at Voi site, said the center will serve as a talent pool for both CRBC and Kenya, adding that more such centers are expected to be set up in other work sites of the project.
Isabella Khaemba, a Kenyan laboratory technician who has worked with CRBC on the SGR project for the past 11 months, said she received three months’ serious training in material testing after she was employed.
Khaemba said she is fortunate that many “amazing” Chinese colleagues has given her guidance, thus she has mastered the knowledge of Chinese standard on her work and gained much experience.
“I am happy working here and motivated to work hard,” she said.
Holding a diploma in civil engineering, the 24-year-old girl hopes the program offered by the training center can equip her with more engineering knowledge and skills, so that she can get a better post in the company and one day become a good engineer in Kenya.
The CRBC is currently working on the railway line linking the Kenyan capital Nairobi with the port city of Mombasa — the biggest infrastructure project in Kenya since its independence in 1964. The line is planned to eventually extend to other East African nations including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
The Chinese company has employed some 12,000 Kenyan staff and the number is expected to reach 30,000 as the project proceeds.
Passenger trains will travel at a top speed of 120km/h, while freight trains can attain a maximum speed of 80km/h on the new line which is expected to boost economy, create jobs and promote regional integration. Endi