A Mombasa-based garment factory has hired 117 machine operators underlining the potential of short-term courses in jobs generation for the youth in the export sector.
East Africa Trade Hub said the new employees were the first batch of trainees that went through an eight-week teaching at clothes factories based in Nairobi and Mombasa.
The firm plans to train 2,000 clothes-machine operators. It says “a short-term machine-specific training strategy” should be adopted to ease shortage of specialist skills in the sub-sector.
This, the firm said, will help create sustainable jobs for the high number of unemployed youth across Kenya.
“The Hub’s Workforce Skills Development Programme is one of the elements under the Hub’s East Africa Cotton, Textile and Apparel Expansion initiative through which the Hub is addressing the binding constraints that currently inhibit growth in the East Africa, apparel sector,” it said.
Mombasa Apparel in the EPZ, which was one of the training hubs, has also been absorbing the trained machine operators with more offers available for future trainees.
The initiative follows a call by apparel makers that technical institutes be equipped with modern industrial machines to enable Kenya to train young people.
The firms who made the call include Royal Garments Industries, New Wide Garments, Mombasa Apparel, Mega Garments Industries, Mahalakshmi Garments and United Aryan.
EPZ clothes factories employ 42,500 workers. The sector earned Sh36.8 billion in export sales in 2016.
Apparels sales to USA earned the EPZ-based factories Sh34.41 billion last year through sale of 74 million pieces.
Kenya-made garments in European and Canadian retail shops sold Sh2.4 billion from 4.3 million pieces.