Making a real difference through vocational training

15 January 2013
IET Communications team
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IET member Kayley Arthington teaching engineering skills in Tanzania

IET member Kayley Arthington teaching engineering skills in Tanzania.

Credit: Photo courtesy of VSO/Ben Langdon

IET member Kayley Arthington is working as a skilled volunteer to help young people in Tanzania.

Kayley Arthington MIET is on a two-year break from her role as a Royal Mail maintenance engineer in the United Kingdom to help young Tanzanians complete vocational training courses.

The scheme she is involved in, ‘Enhancing Employability through Vocational Training’, is a unique partnership between BG Group, the Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) and international development charity VSO.

Kayley, 33, has been working as a skilled volunteer in the town of Mtwara in Tanzania since October last year, where BG Group has set up operations following the recent discovery of large quantities of gas.

After studying the quality of training methods and facilities available to local students, Kayley decided to contact the IET for assistance. She explained how some of the teaching material dated back as far as 1972, and some of the local vocational trainers were using outdated versions of the IET Wiring Regulations.

The IET was more than happy to help out, and copies of the Wiring Regulations 17th Edition, Onsite Guide and Guidance Notes 1 to 8 were sent to Kayley in Mtwara.

Kayley, who is currently on sabbatical from her role as a Women’s Engineering Society council member, said: “The team here are hoping to improve vocational training in Mtwara, so that disadvantaged young people can access employment opportunities that are emerging in the oil and gas industry, which is expanding here.

“Currently large international companies are not able to hire local tradesmen and women as the skill levels and standards within the Tanzanian community do not meet the standards required by the industry. This means their presence is currently not contributing to an increasingly challenging environment for local people where house and living prices continue to rise.

“Having the up to date material will allow the trainees of the project to be taught to the latest standards, therefore ensuring not only the quality of craftsmanship is increased, but also understanding of other aspects of the industry such as health and safety which is a critical requirement for accessing industry related jobs.

“This will allow graduates of the scheme to hopefully compete on an equal footing in the job market and enable them to access opportunities within the oil and gas sector and supporting industries here in Mtwara.”

VSO currently has a range of placements for vocational trainers and engineers across various developing countries. For more information, please visit www.vso.org.uk/volunteer/niche-roles.