By Nanjinia Wamuswa
Bamburi Cement and the National Construction Authority (NCA) have launched the training seminars for over 3500 masons in 52 centres across various towns in the country.
The free training seminars, are part of Bamburi’s annual skills bridging programme dubbed Builders Academy. This year, it targets to train at least 70 masons per centre.
As a first, this year’s Builders Academy will be conducted in partnership with the National Construction Authority (NCA), after they signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year, establishing a framework for the two parties to collaborate on improving skills and competencies in the building and construction industry.
The seminars will take 14 weeks, starting this weekend in Utawala, Dagoretti, Limuru and Kiambu towns and will end in Maralal on July 1, 2017.
Beneficiaries will be trained on site planning, drawings, setting out and foundations, mix designs, causes of building defects and how to avoid them. They will be also trained on-site safety procedures. At the end of the programme each trainee will receive a certificate.
“Bamburi Cement’s Builders Academy is a direct response to the growing technical skill gap in the country. More than 80 percent of masons, foremen and small contractors lack formal training in construction.
This is in part due to the growing interest in white collar careers in tertiary learning centres at the expense of blue-collar jobs,” said Susan Maingi, Director Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainable Development Bamburi Cement.
Ms Maingi further added that besides the Builders Academy, which targets masons and foremen, Bamburi will this year also run a concurrent programme for cement retailers.
“This year, for the first time, we are reaching out to cement retailers. We will bring in a specialist in retail to help cement retailers enhance their entrepreneurial skills and sharpen their business acumen,” she said.
She added that Bamburi’s mobile concrete testing labs would be available at some learning centres to facilitate practical learning. “The mobile labs will allow masons to complement the theoretical learning with practical learning,” she concluded.
The involvement of the NCA in this year’s programme will help masons and foremen to understand the mandate of the NCA and the regulations in the sector. It will also present them with an opportunity to understand the requirements and benefits of membership in NCA.
Since its inception 13 years ago, Bamburi’s Builders Academy has benefited more than 250,000 masons across the country. Consequently, it has gained widespread acclaim in the construction industry, as indicated by the signing of the MOU between the two parties last year.
The initiative to train retailers is expected to be an annual event, with a goal of achieving the same level of success and scale as the Builders Academy.