Kisumu: In a move poised to boost Kenya’s tourism sector and equip youth with in-demand skills, Kenya Utalii College, the country’s premier hospitality training institution, is expanding its program offerings to the Railways Training Institute (RTI) in Kisumu. This strategic partnership, effective January 2024, aims to equip learners with the crucial skills needed to thrive in the burgeoning cruise ship industry and revitalize Kenya’s tourism prowess.
The collaboration stems from RTI’s recent certification by the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) to offer Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) programs. This opens doors for graduates to secure coveted positions on cruise ships and leisure boats, both locally and internationally.
Government Backing Paves the Way for Growth
Underscoring the government’s commitment to supporting the initiative, Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen pledged bilateral labor relations with various countries to facilitate employment opportunities for graduates. Highlighting the untapped potential of Kenya’s waterways, Murkomen emphasized plans to rejuvenate transport and tourism activities around Lake Victoria, particularly emphasizing the lake’s importance as a “sleeping giant” capable of transforming Western Kenya’s tourism landscape.
Investing in Kisumu’s Potential
Recognizing Kisumu Port’s crucial role in attracting investments and generating employment, Murkomen, alongside Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Matthew Owili, reiterated the government’s commitment to strengthening security in the region, a key factor in attracting investments and fostering development nationwide. He further encouraged young people to explore marine-related fields, citing the abundance of opportunities abroad.
A Rewarding Partnership for All
David Wamatsi, Chairman of the Utalii College Board, expressed the institution’s excitement about returning to the lake region, highlighting the significant benefits this world-class training will bring to students from Lake Region counties. Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga lauded the partnership, acknowledging its role in strengthening RTI’s hospitality programs. To further enhance practical learning, Kenya Railways has pledged funds to modernize workshops at the institute.
The event also marked the graduation of 12 students from the marine training program in Kisumu and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Kenya Utalii College and Kenya Railways, solidifying their commitment to this transformative partnership.
This expansion by Utalii College is a promising step towards empowering Kenyan youth with relevant skills while simultaneously revitalizing the country’s tourism sector. With government support, modernized facilities, and a focus on job creation, this initiative has the potential to unlock new opportunities and propel Western Kenya’s tourism industry to new heights.