Railway training Institute, a department of Kenya Railways was established in 1956 to develop human resources for the East African Railways and Harbours.
The Institute became fully owned by Kenya Railways after the dissolution of the East Africa Railways and Harbours in 1976, with the mandate to train corporation employees.
Under the Kenya Railways Act 1978, CAP 397, it is mandated to develop railway skills and competences in the East African region.
The institute ensures that students are fully prepared for the job market by offering them the modern competency based curriculum such that all graduates are expected to acquire skills and perform them to a satisfactory level for certification.
Enrolment is guided by the industry requirements and trainees are exposed to industrial attachment to keep abreast with the current trends in their area.
Assessment is carried out on individual basis to confirm students’ performance and monitoring Industry feedback which is also considered keenly for improvement of the training standards.
The institute is also Mandated in: Provision of Education and training for Transport and Logistics, Provision of Human resource training for Kenya Railways, Provision of Education and training for the Rail sector, Provision of Technical and Vocational Engineering, Management and Business course as well as Providing research and consultancy for industry.
Short term goals
The Institute intends to build capacity for training railway and Marine courses; improve infrastructure and equip faculties with modern training equipment and resource material.
With the changing trends in the sector, RTI has trained 10 staffs in Competency Based Curriculum Development who are equipped with skills for conducting training needs assessment and revising curriculum in liaison with industry experts. This ensures relevance in the trainings offered by the Institute.
The Institute also engages in strategic partnership with local and international organizations to adopt best practice in service delivery.
Some of the countries that have partnered with them include China, USA, Australia and the other East African states.
Pandemic impact on service delivery
The institute experienced a revenue decrease during the pandemic as students were away from the Institute.
Plans for e-Learning had not been finalized for implementation thus lecturers used varied methodology to reach their students during the pandemic.
Currently the institute is working on implementation of e-Learning to address the increasing enrolment.
In compliance with Ministry of Health protocol on Covid 19 pandemic, the instate accommodation area has fewer students and sanitation facilities had to be improved.
Provision of water points in the institute have made it necessary to maintain and increase the capacity of the Institute generator for pumping water for use.
Adorning masks by the RTI community has become a lifestyle and students’ activities minimized to avoid close interactions.
Vulnerable staff and students have been advised to take extra precaution during the pandemic season.
As a way of increasing revenue base and its viability on service delivery, RTI is also training students to work on Uganda Railways to ensure training standards are adopted for the region to realize seamless transport in railway and Marine.
If one part is left behind it will encourage labour mobility thus RTI has taken the initiative to invite students from the region for training to ensure competence across the region.
For the railway in Kenya to make economic sense, the rest of the East African countries should be able to efficiently and effectively utilize it. This can only be achieved if all workers in the region are exposed to standard and quality training.
Railway Training Institute is a lead agent in railway skills gap audit from which preliminary findings indicate huge gaps in the sector due to natural attrition and lack of competence management system.
The Institute shall support the sector to establish the competence management system for development and sustaining competent workforce.
Revival of railways services countrywide
Railway Training Institute is at the heart of the revival with a renewed energy in training capacity for the sector.
New innovative methods and strategic collaborations have been adopted to train relevant courses. Management decisions have been refocused towards provision of competent capacity for the sector.
Among trainings that have been revived includes core moulder /core maker, advanced welding, rolling stock maintenance which had been put on hold during the railway concession by RVR.
New training methods and relevant equipment have to be adopted to deliver competent capacity.
Standout courses over time
The stand out courses over time have been Locomotive Driving, Passenger operations and Locomotive maintenance.
In the Faculty of Engineering, Electrical and Civil Engineering accounts for 60% of the total enrolment.
Business related courses especially ICT has been made compulsory at initial stages to expose trainees to the current business system. Food and Beverage and hotel management training has gained popularity over the years.
Training exposes students to future trends in the market. As part of curriculum development they are considered for exposure and broadening of knowledge areas.
The trainees are equipped with all relevant knowledge for posterity. Education is not limited within the boundary of training. Best practice requires that trainees are exposed to expanded knowledge to fit in society.
The next generation of the institute shall influence the strategic direction of the country in transport and Logistics as it is repositioning itself to train for Africa thus leading the continent in research and consultancy for the sector.