Floriculture industry to benefit from skills upgrade programme

skills_upgardeThe National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) has officially launched the country’s first integrated floriculture skills upgrade program in a move targeted at knowledge transfer. NITA promotes, regulates and manages the country’s Industrial training including curriculum development.

The programme developed by various players in the floriculture sub-sector, NITA, Agricultural Employers Association (AEA), Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Egerton and Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT) is set to standardise skills across the floriculture industry. The curriculum will be used to train floriculture personnel currently working in the industry.

The pilot project will take-off in three farms; with the initial farm being Oserian Development Company. Oserian employees will undergo the training in-house, whereby lecturers from Egerton and JKUAT will train them for a period of 4 months starting mid April 2013. Upon successful completion of the training, the employees will receive a certificate in the skill upgrading course. Once the pilot project is validated, it will be rolled out across the country for anyone interested in getting a certificate in Floriculture and also for the floriculture sector. This curriculum will cover both theory and practical in a farm’s set up.

“Stiff competition in the overseas market and challenges in areas of production, processing, marketing and financing pose a serious challenge to Kenya in maintaining and expanding her market share in the international arena”, said Thomas Ojuja, Chair of the National Industrial Training Authority, during the curriculum’s launch.

Evolving international market requirements and intense competition from emerging markets have forced specialised training in floriculture which was unavailable in the past. The industry has for a long time relied on internal training of workers with each flower farm responsible for equipping soft skills of their workers to boost scarce technical training.

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