Around 100 young people are currently learning two professions at the new training centre in Karen: electrician and plumber. (Copyright: Hilti Foundation)
Sustainability - April 2024

Advocating for vocational training

Geberit and Hilti Foundation

Geberit is expanding its existing support for a vocational training programme for sanitary professionals in Kenya. Around 1,000 young people are to receive vocational training by the end of 2025.

“Give a starving man a fish and he will eat once. Teach him to fish and he will never go hungry again”: Geberit's social commitment in developing countries is based on this approach. It is about helping people to help themselves and creating prospects and livelihoods through training and the transfer of expertise. A vocational training programme in Kenya in partnership with the Hilti Foundation will be the focus of social commitment over the next few years (see info box).

Equipment and expertise
A newly built training centre for plumbers in Karen near Nairobi has already been financed. In addition, Geberit supports apprentices with scholarships and offers coaching for local vocational trainers in the sanitary companies. The company is also involved in the development of the school programme and teaching materials.

“Will change vocational training in Kenya”
At the Don Bosco School in Karen, around 100 apprentices began their dual training as sanitary professional in November 2022. 45 percent of them are women. 25 local sanitary companies are currently on board as training companies. The target is 60 companies and 1,000 apprentices. Werner Wallner, Managing Director of Hilti Foundation and initiator of the vocational training programme, says: “We are creating a flagship project that will be expanded to other construction professions and other industries and will completely change vocational training in Kenya. Real systemic change is only possible through strong commitment and sustainable funding from the private sector and the government.”

Comprehensive commitment for and with apprentices
Geberit is convinced by the concept, as CEO Christian Buhl confirms: “We have a long tradition of vocational training. And the topic is very close to my heart. We know only too well that dual vocational training is a success factor and a tried-and-tested instrument for economic development.”

The vocational training programme

The Hilti Foundation launched the vocational training programme in Kenya back in 2021. Based on the Swiss model of dual vocational training, apprentices were to learn the professions of plumbing and electrician partly at school and partly in the company over a period of two years. Werner Wallner, Managing Director of the Hilti Foundation and initiator of the vocational training programme, explains the focus on these two occupational fields as follows: “We conducted a study in Kenya and found that there is a high demand for quality vocational training in the construction industry. Based on the skills gap and market demand, we were able to identify electrical and plumbing professions as particularly attractive”. Geberit’s international sales company (GISA) has supported the Hilti Foundation from the outset with training materials and equipment for the plumbing training workshop.