Dozens of young adults drawn from low-income suburbs in the Kenyan capital Nairobi were on Saturday recruited by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to work in its flagship standard gauge railway (SGR) project.
The youth, aged 18-25 years, were awarded certificates early this week for completing a comprehensive masonry course.
Senior executives from CRBC said during the recruitment exercise that the Chinese construction firm is committed to empowerment of Kenyan youth through training and employment.
"We are ready to play an active role in empowering young people from poor backgrounds through education, vocational training and employment," said Steve Zhao, Manager in charge of external relations at CRBC.
He said the newly recruited youth will be deployed at construction sites where their skills in masonry, plumbing and tiling are in great demand.
CRBC has forged a strategic partnership with Kenyan charitable organizations to improve the welfare of youth drawn from Nairobi's low-income settlements.
Part of this collaboration involves placement of youth trained in various technical fields at the SGR project where they will undergo rigorous skills upgrade while earning decent income.
Zhao said recruitment of skilled youth from poor backgrounds will be a continuous exercise as CRBC hastens implementation of its corporate social responsibility blue print launched early this year.
Chen Hongyu, the site human resource manager for SGR, noted the recruited youth have exceptional skills that will aid implementation of the mega infrastructure project linking Kenya and its east African neighbors.
Elizabeth Wanja, Program Manager with International Youth Foundation (IYF) which partners with the Chinese firm to help train the youth, hailed Chinese business entities for supporting skills development for Kenyan youth.
"By supporting education and training for our disadvantaged youth, Chinese firms have set a precedent worth emulating," Wanja said, adding that solution to Kenya's youth unemployment crises hinges on mentorship, vocational training and entrepreneurship.