Improving skills for young plumbers and electricians through dual apprenticeship training

Before the pandemic, Kenya’s GDP grew on an average of 5% per year. The construction sector was among the fastest-growing industries and is expected to become increasingly important in the future. Kenya has a dynamic private sector and a growing entrepreneurial middle class. The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system is undergoing major reforms and there is a shift to workplace-based learning. Even though an apprenticeship framework was recently adopted, progress remains slow. As the industry is not very involved in the development of training and curricula, training centres still have limited capacity to tailor their offer to the needs of the market. In addition, instructors lack the pedagogical competencies and professional experience to deliver relevant training. Therefore, graduates fail to meet employers’ expectations and enterprises struggle to get the skilled workers they need to deliver quality work. The project seeks to introduce a dual apprenticeship model driven by employers for the construction industry in Kenya and beyond, starting with plumbers and electricians. 
Nairobi County, Kenya
Project duration
2021 - 2022

The project

Co-creating an apprenticeship offer together with public and private partners: Through public-private partnerships with Kenyan and select multinational enterprises, an apprenticeship offer for plumbing and electrical installations will be co-created. On the one hand, the project will enable newly skilled young Kenyan workers to access decent jobs in safe workplaces and earn higher living incomes. On the other hand, employers will benefit from the services of more skilled and productive workers. 

The project seeks to reach young men and women above 18 years who have completed 4 years of secondary school and 1-year craft certificate or equivalent. It will aim to improve their technical skills and hands-on experience to install electrical and plumbing systems. The project will also address their working attitude towards safety standards, time management and the efficient and sustainable use of materials and resources.

Establishing a business case for dual apprenticeships: The project aims to raise awareness among enterprises that an integrated learning programme, which combines school-based theory and on-the-job training anchored in companies will pay off in the long run. The development of such a model implies risks that individual companies are unlikely to take and that, therefore, need to be distributed and partially born by a third party; this is the raison d'être of this project.

This dual apprenticeship project will aim for systemic impact, which goes beyond the immediate value for the enterprise or apprentice to bring about changes that will benefit a wider set of companies and their networks and that are sustainable at the sectoral level beyond the project duration.

Project partners

  • Hilti AG
  • Geberit
  • Schneider Electric
  • Leading Kenyan plumbing and electrician companies
  • Kenya corporate agencies (NITA, TVETA, CDACC)
  • Kenyan training centres (Don Bosco, Eastlands College of Technology)
  • Professional Associations (Master Builders’ Association, Federation of Registered Electrical Contractors)


Engaging the private sector: The long-term vision is a national TVET system in Kenya that produces highly qualified young professionals who match the needs of the private sector and are integrated into the labour market. The aim is for the private sector to engage directly in skills interventions; drive a training mechanism that is valued by both the private sector and government; and assume ownership and joint responsibility for transforming the way young people are trained.

Dual apprenticeships for a skilled workforce: The goal is for young workers to be able to access better jobs in safer workplaces and achieve higher incomes from jobs usually done by a non-Kenyan workforce. This will be achieved by establishing dual apprenticeships for young job seekers to be trained as skilled workers. This training modality is a cost-effective alternative driven by the private sector as it is anchored in enterprises. It ensures close links between practical company-based and training centre-based theoretical learning. 

Design and implementation phase: In the period 2021-22, a dual apprenticeship model that is adapted to the local context will be designed (in two high-priority construction trades – plumbing and electrical installation) and commitments with relevant stakeholders will be signed.

From 2022 onward, the apprenticeship programme with private construction companies and training institutes will be implemented and data on the effectiveness of the new skills development system will be collected. Furthermore, the project will work with the private and public stakeholders for future adoption and adaptation in other trades and industries. Later phases will focus on scale up and expansion to mainstream and establishing the mechanism in the TVET system.

Expected Results

  • Introduce the Swiss dual apprenticeship model to the top 20 Kenya plumbing and electrician companies, 2 training centres, 2 associations and the relevant government bodies (NITA, TVETA)
  • Together with the local partners, develop a shared vision for a dual apprenticeship mechanism adapted to their needs and the Kenyan context as well as define the elements of the prototype.
  • By March 2022, the Kenyan partners will sign a memorandum of understanding expressing their interest and commitment to pilot a dual apprenticeship model. The planning for the roll-out will be completed and the contributions from multinational partner companies and Swiss VET schools will be clarified.

Financing partners

This project is financed by the Hilti Foundation. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 


Initial vocational education and training
Kenyan delegation convinced of dual vocational education and training
Over the course of a week, a Kenyan delegation with representatives from leading construction companies in the electrical and sanitary engineering industry, as well as from educational institutions, got to know Switzerland's dual education system and experienced a varied programme. Swisscontact accompanied the visitors, initiated and moderated various technical presentations and workshops. The schedule also included visits to SMEs as well as international companies and various educational institutions where apprentices are trained.

Initial vocational education and training, Upskilling and reskilling
Kenya: Dual Apprenticeship launched to fix the shortage of skilled labour in the Construction Sector
On 1st October 2021, Swisscontact in Kenya and the Hilti Foundation launched a revolutionary project that promotes an employer-led dual apprenticeship system within the construction sector. The project aims to develop a skilled workforce, through a combination of on-job training in companies and theoretical learning in vocational schools set up to meet the rising demand for technical skills in the Kenyan market.