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Feature: China-built railway engineering course opens new frontiers to Kenyan youth

(Xinhua)    20:32, August 09, 2016
Feature: China-built railway engineering course opens new frontiers to Kenyan youth
NAIROBI, Aug. 9, 2016 -- Chinese ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa (R) presents an award to an excellent student during the graduation ceremony of the railway technology course at Railway Training Institute in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Aug. 8, 2016. More than one hundred Kenyan youth drawn from mid-level colleges and universities are the latest beneficiaries of a railway technology course sponsored by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). (Xinhua/Li Baishun)

NAIROBI, Aug. 9 -- Patrick Mburu's ability to strum the guitar and belt out an uplifting ballad earned him rock star status as a teenager growing up in a family of modest means in central Kenya.

The 25-year-old accomplished guitarist is yet to reconcile with a strange turn in his life's path after landing in an engineering career despite spending the better part of his youth honing musical skills.

Mburu confounded everyone when he enrolled for a telecommunications engineering course in a mid-level college because he always stood out as an undisputed crooner since childhood.

He was among 102 Kenyan youth who were on Monday awarded certificates after completing a four-month course on railway technology sponsored by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

During an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony for the trainees, Mburu said the tailor made railway technology course sponsored by CRBC opened new horizons.

"After completing my major in telecommunications engineering, I spent months roaming in the valley of indecision but my moment of reckoning was in April this year when I secured a chance to study for a four-month railway technology course sponsored by CRBC," said Mburu.

He added that the rigorous training conducted by tutors from Southwest Jiaotong University coupled with robust interaction with Kenyan peers sharpened his engineering and social skills.

"We were privileged to have a rich cast of experienced and passionate tutors who made sure we grasped the finer details in railway engineering," Mburu told Xinhua.

He successfully completed the four-month course in signaling and communication and was an awarded a certificate that will greatly boost his resume.

Mburu and his peers have already secured a five-month internship with CRBC and will be deployed to its flagship Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project to hone their engineering skills further.

"I look forward to becoming one of the star technicians at the SGR project and am confident additional opportunities will crop up in the near future," said Mburu.

He disclosed to Xinhua that his ultimate dream is to become a consultant in the engineering field while mentoring youth as a way to give back to the community.

Kenyan youth consider Chinese construction firms a prized destination to hone skills while earning stable income.

Mburu and his comrades were emphatic that Chinese firms have not wavered in their commitment to provide lifelong skills to local youth as part of their corporate social responsibility.

As for Tabitha Kiplimo, taking up a locomotive engineering course sponsored by CRBC marked a critical milestone in the life of a 25-year-old youth, whose humble roots in the North Rift region has always been a constant reminder for her to strive for a better tomorrow.

Kiplimo had just graduated with a diploma in electrical engineering when she was shortlisted for the four-month locomotive engineering course sponsored by the Chinese construction firm.

"I felt honored to be selected as a trainee for the locomotive engineering course and felt the urge to prove doomsayers wrong by scoring a good grade," Kiplimo remarked.

She grew up in a highly patriarchal society where cultural norms dictated that young women's place was in the kitchen rather than classroom.

"I'm very grateful to my parents who defied twisted advice from elders and took me to school where realization of lifelong dreams was guaranteed," said Kiplimo.

She is among a growing army of Kenyan young women who have overcome huge odds to pursue a thriving career in engineering.

"The future is bright and I dream of becoming a locomotive driver since I'm adequately prepared to undertake the task," Kiplimo remarked.

She added that interaction with Chinese tutors broadened her grasp of railway engineering and rich culture in China.

Hundreds of Kenyan youth have benefited from skills development programs funded by Chinese firms operating in the east African nation.

These youth are charting enviable career paths after undergoing training and mentor-ship supported by Chinese enterprises.

Concilia Owire, a 22-year-old holder of a diploma in electrical engineering, said the four-month course in locomotive and rolling stock engineering sponsored by CRBC opened new frontiers.

"To be honest, I was not sure where my destiny lie until I completed the four-month course on locomotive and rolling stock engineering and new opportunities came knocking at my doorstep," said Owire.

Her ultimate dream is to become a locomotive driver and mentor young women to take up engineering courses.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor: Yuan Can,Bianji)

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