Feature: Chinese firms provide employment, skills upgrade for Kenyan youth

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-19 21:44:26|Editor: An
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NAIROBI, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Joseph Musili is only 22 years old, yet his dream of becoming a construction mogul in the near future has confounded his peers who are yet to define which career path to follow in an increasingly competitive society.

The bubbly youth joined China Wu Yi (Kenya) Precast Company Limited in September this year to work as a casual laborer in a factory it is putting up on the outskirts of Nairobi to manufacture construction materials.

Speaking to Xinhua recently at the factory site, Musili said his month-long stint as a casual laborer in a construction site has been a respite to financial woes that afflicted him after clearing high school.

"I feel better now that I can afford my daily bread and spare some cash to send to my relatives in the village. The work environment is conducive enough to facilitate realization of my dreams despite being a casual laborer," said Musili.

He is among more than 600 Kenyans recruited by China Wu Yi to work at the Kenya Building Industrialization Research, Development and Production Base and Construction Materials Supermarket the company is setting up at an industrial hub outside Nairobi.

China Wu Yi through its Kenyan affiliate has invested 100 million dollars to establish the facility that will act as a one stop shop for building materials.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia, who visited the project accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, said it will boost Kenya's quest to bridge housing gap while fostering skills transfer and job creation.

"We feel excited by this project and it is transformational in terms of industrial development. It will help us meet the goal of putting up 5 million new housing units in the next five years," Macharia remarked.

He lauded Chinese companies that have invested in Kenya for creating new jobs for the youth while facilitating skills and technology transfer.

On his part, the Chinese ambassador noted that the industrial plant being established by China Wu Yi will help reduce the cost of building materials in Kenya.

This kind of investment will enable Kenyans to have cheaper and reliable housing, said Liu, adding that China is committed to be an integral part of Kenya's industrial transformation.

Kenyan youth have benefitted from the setting up of the inaugural construction materials supermarket in the country by China Wu Yi (Kenya) Precast Company Limited.

Douglas Juma, a 26-year-old mason said his stint at the factory site has been rewarding in terms of perks and exposure.

"The construction of an industrial plant that will manufacture modern construction materials has created jobs that are fulfilling when you look at the wages and growth prospects," Juma remarked.

His counterpart, Benson Kimeu,a 38-year-old carpenter said working for China Wu Yi has provided him with a platform to refine his skills while improving his grasp of Chinese work ethic and social mores.

"I'm earning higher wages in my current work station and interacting with people from different cultures has made me appreciate the world," said Kimeu.

Chinese manufacturing firms that have set base in Kenya have revitalized the country's industrial growth while opening new job opportunities for trained youth.

At Twyford Ceramics Limited that is located 72 kilometers south west of Nairobi, hundreds of Kenyan youth with varying degree of expertise have found gainful employment.

Wilfred Cheruiyot, a 27-year-old graduate of mechanical design and manufacturing from Ningbo University in China currently works as a translator at Twyford Ceramics Limited which manufactures tiles.

He joined the company in August this year and has enjoyed working alongside Kenyan and Chinese supervisors during production of high quality tiles that are on high demand across the region.

"I'm happy to have a job in this company and it has provided me with a good platform to realize my potential. There is opportunity for growth here and (I) look forward to rising through the ranks," said Cheruiyot.

His sentiments were shared by Joy Njuguna, a 25-year-old casual laborer based at the packaging department who said that working for a Chinese company has improved her revenue base, skills and exposure to the outside world.

"The Chinese are good people to work with, they are courteous and the working environment here is good. I look forward to saving enough money to start a business," said Njuguna.