The journey towards exploitation of marine trade in Lake Victoria is fast taking shape with the Railway Training Institute in Kisumu opening its doors to students.
The government has termed the second marine school in the country after Bandari College in Mombasa as the avenue which will help Kenya increase trade with its neighbours.
With the construction of the school now complete, at least 200 students have been admitted ahead of its full operationalization in June this year.
“Statistics indicate that we do more business outside the continent than we do with our neighbours. This facility will provide the required skills to propel trade with our neighbours,” said Government Spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna who gave journalists a tour of the facility.
According to Oguna, with the planned full operationalization of Kisumu Port, the marine school comes handy in providing the necessary skills needed in running the sector.
The institution which began in 1964 was shut down in 1992 following the collapse of marine transport in the lake.
But in 2016 the government begun to resuscitate the institution with an aim to provide seafaring skills and critical knowledge in developing the blue economy.
The newly built Marine School that will now be able to accommodate 1, 000 students.
This will be the second Marine institution in the country after Bandari College in Mombasa and the third institution in East Africa.
According to Oguna, most of the marine resources are utilized by other people and the Government is now spending resources to provide skills for necessary competency.
“Marine development is key in ensuring that we are able to develop all sectors of the economy and the government is spending resources to provide skills for necessary competency,” said Oguna.
The institution principal Stephen Buluma said a new safety training facility will provide standard safety and seafaring skills and proficiency in survival craft and rescue..
The institution is certified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) to provide Coxswain training, Diploma in International Freight Management and Craft Certificate in Maritime Transport and Logistics.
Mr Buluma says their main objective of the facility is to equip operators with skills to protect and preserve marine environment as they help in improving the blue economy.
“Maritime education is a key component in the blue economy. Our institution is positioned as a key school for marine and maritime education which are critical in the development of the blue economy,” he said.
The new institution constitutes of two standard hostels, one executive hostel, a conference facility, training swimming pool and a fire fighting training villa.
The institution will also provide additional training to operators in the inland water which will take only 20 days at a cost of Sh100,000.
This will go a long way in reducing the number of accidents in the inland water.