By BONIFACE MULU
The Syongila Vocational Training Centre in Kitui Central District of Kitui County is a public institution which was started by the community in 1979 to offer technical training to the youths.
The institution’s Manager Lance Kai Gari made the disclosure during the institution’s first graduation ceremony held on Friday, July 5, 2019. Kitui County Tourism, Sports and Culture Minister Patrick Koki Musau was the chief guest where he was representing Governor Charity Kaluki Ngilu at the function.
A total of 122 students graduated during the ceremony. The 122 are 31 in fashion design, 22 in hairdressing and beauty therapy, 17 (building technology), 6 (carpentry and joinery), 23 (electric welding), 12 (motor vehicle mechanics) and 11 in electrical installation.
The courses offered by the institution are garment making, carpentry and joinery, masonry, welding, electrical installation, motor vehicle mechanics, hair design and beauty therapy and ICT.
The manager disclosed that the institution has 21 staff establishment-fifteen teaching staff and 6 non-teaching staff. “The institution’s vision is to be the leading and best vocational training center in Kitui County. And the mission is the provision of quality skills and morals through effective management that ensures maximum returns to all stakeholders. And the motto is technology in life,” Gari added. “Indeed, it has been our longing for this ceremony.
We want to appreciate all of you in a special way because you have made this institution great and success,” he said.
You have satisfied the examination body and that is the reason we are graduating you today, the manager told the graduands. And he added: “The board, instructors and the entire Syongila Village community wish to congratulate you for your sustained effort and good work.
We have a lot of hope in you because you have not only passed your examinations but you have demonstrated your ability practically. You have done most of the repairs and also produced new products for the institution’s use and for the market,” he further told them. “This proves that the Songaila Vocational Training Centre has equipped you with various competitive skills relevant to the market.
We encourage you to sell your skills aggressively and keep on learning new skills even if it means volunteering your service so that you become better in what you do. You need to be the best in the market.
We wish you all the best and congratulations,” the vocational training center chief also told the graduands. Gari highly thanked the parents for their continued support by allowing them (the institution) to impart skills to the very young people. And he urged them to continue supporting the institution’s students in their trades by buying for them start-up kits like machines and tools so that they can employ themselves and others.
Gari told the community that they the Songaila Vocational Training Centre have graduated some of the best-skilled workforces. “We humbly request you to to have trust in them and engage them knowing they will produce the best products and services for you,” he added. The Syongila Vocational Training Centre was first called the Songaila Village Polytechnic, then the Songaila Youth Polytechnic. It stands on a 3.9 hectares land.
When the institution was started it used to offer three types of courses-garment making, carpentry and joinery, and masonry. In 1999 to 2006, the Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDP) through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) made a tremendous improvement to the institution’s infrastructure by building new workshops, girls dormitory and supplying of machines and equipment.
In his speech after reading Governor Ngilu’s speech, the chief guest Patrick Koki Musau congratulated the graduands. “You have excelled in various disciplines,” he told them.
The minister urged the students to take their studies seriously for their own good and for the good of their parents and for the good of the society. “We don’t want to lose students through early marriages, alcohol consumption, bhang smoking and khat (miraa) chewing among other vices,” the minister warned.
I also caution against “sponsors”, he added. “Do what brought you here and not indulging in things that can ruin you,” Musau told the students. And on his part, the Kitui County Training and Skills Development Deputy Director, Mathew Mutuku, said the Songaila Vocational Training Centre is one of the best polytechnics in the county in terms of enrolment. He announced that the institution currently has a total of 388 students whom he disclosed that their number had risen from 80.
“The government has done a lot in supporting the institution and it will continue supporting it,” the officer said. We thank parents and the government among others for helping us to make these our institutions a success, Mutuku added.
He announced that currently, the county has a total of 53 operational vocational training centers, 5,372 trainees and 102 government-employed instructors and many instructors by the boards of management.
Mutuku was among the County government officials who had accompanied the minister. The Syongila Vocational Training Centre Chairperson Margaret Kitonga, who also addressed the occasion, disclosed that they also plan to study plumbing at the institution. “We don’t do plumbing but we are planning to start it at the institution,” she said.
We have more than 300 students at the institution, the BOM chairperson said. “Graduands, today is your day. But today you are studying. That is what I can tell you,” she said.
You are lucky because your studies are in your hands, she further told them. Kitonga told parents that the skills acquired from the vocational training centers in Kenya are so vital for their children.
She urged the graduands to make the use of the education they have acquired thereby seeking employment to be employed as Graduands. “ I thank you for coming. Thank you. Thank you everybody”, the BOM leader said.
The Kitui Central District Youth Training Officer Anderson Mwambua also addressed the occasion. He is also in charge of the Kitui East, Kitui West and Mwingi West Districts. The area Location Chief Jemmy Kalua and the area Assistant Chief Cosmas Kyalo Syomuti also addressed the function among others.