According to the Kenya Bureau of statistics, more than 600,000 jobs are created in the informal sector every year. The skills required for one to get a job in this informal sector are offered in technical and vocational institutes.
There is a long-standing perception that vocation and technical institutions are attended by people who failed in school. Interestingly, nations in Asia that are industrialized have managed to grow their economy because of placing emphasis on the need for their citizens to attend these vocational institutions.
Despite the Kenyan government’s drive to develop technical and vocations institutions, the number of people enrolling is still very low. This is despite the fact that some of these vocational colleges will admit willing students with a certificate in either primary or secondary school as the minimum entry requirement.
According to the World Bank, the unemployment rate in Kenya is set to grow to 50% by the year 2020. It takes about 3 years for a Kenyan graduate to get a job that pays them a gross income of Ksh. 50,000 each month.
With such statistics, it is becoming more and more important for people to consider taking technical and vocational training. These give you an opportunity to be self-employed and to also create job opportunities for other youths.
Here are the best paying blue collar jobs in Kenya.
1. Car mechanics
This is one of the most common technical jobs in the jua kali sector. A mechanic can make at least Ksh. 3000 a day depending on the kind of work they get each day. There are thousands of Kenyans buying cars each day. All of these Kenyans will at some point require the services of a mechanic. Some mechanics prefer to specialize their trade by focusing on perfecting their skills on specific car models. Servicing a normal car can cost up to Ksh. 5,000. In a month, sometimes a mechanic can make more than what a manager in an office makes.
Most people will learn the trade through apprenticeship. However, it is better to get the training from a technical college. Once you graduate, you can look for apprenticeship opportunities that will put you on your way to self-employment.
2. Plumbing jobs
There is a shortage of qualified masons and plumbers. There are a lot of jobs in the property development industry for people with these skills. According to the national construction authority, certified artisans in plumbing charge at least Ksh. 2,000 a day. It only takes a 6 months vocational training to become a certified plumber.
A qualified plumber can be contracted by building and construction companies to head their plumbing needs for different building projects.
This is an artistic field that also pays good money. The training takes a few weeks. Once qualified, a painter can be contracted for different projects. They can choose to change per project or per day. The amount charged depends on the paint job needed. A simple painting job can be charged at Ksh. 2,000 per day. The cost becomes higher based on the complexity of the painting job.
To become a painter, you only need to have an interest in the art. Most technical and vocational institutions will require a certificate in either primary or secondary school.
Welding has grown to become one of the best paying alternative jobs in Kenya. This is thanks to the booming construction industry. You can learn to weld at a technical vocational college.
To understand just how well it pays, take a metallic gate for instance. One gate costs around Ksh. 50,000, a salon specialist will pay around Ksh. 3,000 to get a good seat for their clients while a bar seat would go for around Ksh. 1,500.
On a good day, a welder can go home with up to Ksh. 50,000. He only needs a few good sales in a month to live a comfortable life.
5. The beauty industry
These days, women are very keen on how they look every time they step out. The beauty industry has grown over the last few years. There are numerous beauty schools that offer classes on make-up application. Once you complete the course, you can become a freelancing makeup artist.
A simple makeup application job can pay up to Ksh. 2,000. A wedding’s bridal party can pay up to Ksh. 50,000 for makeup services. In a good month, a makeup artist can offer their services to at least one wedding or two. That, with the usual daily deals, makes a good source of income for anyone interested.
Just like the beauty industry, hairdressing is one of the most reliable alternative jobs for a source of income. One only needs to attend a few months of hairdressing lessons to become an expert in the field. Depending on the hairstyle the client is interested in, a hairdresser can make any amount from 500 going up. On a good day, it is possible to have up to 10 clients or more.
A hairdresser can make any amount from Ksh. 1,500 to Ksh. 5,000 or more each day. It is also a field that doesn’t necessarily require one to set up shop. One can offer mobile services to the clients.
7. Food Services
Food will always be a priority need for people. Placing yourself as a service provider at any position in the food industry can ensure you will always have a good income. People like good food and with a little training, you will get loads of loyal customers.
Professions in the food industry include chef, baker, restaurant manager, hospitality manager, food scientist, food inspector, etc
For example, to become a foods inspector, you only need to take a food and beverage inspection course in one of the technical and vocational colleges in your area. The course will take 6 months for certificate qualification.
Starting salary for a food inspector can range from Ksh. 30,000 upwards.
8. Electrical and electronics specialists
You can get an electrical or electronics course from a technical and vocational college. The course takes 3 to 6 months for certification. Once completed, one can become a freelance electrician or electronics specialist.
For electricians, it is easy to get a contract with a building company for wiring jobs for their building projects. Simple electrical issues in homes can be charged from Ksh. 1,000 for labor. For construction projects, the cost depends on the size of the building and other factors.
9. Tailoring and dressmaking
If you have an eye for designs, this could be a great course to take. The fashion industry in Kenya is ever growing and thus the need for reliable, fashion-conscious tailors cannot be overlooked. Learning how to use a tailoring machine and how to design different kinds of attire can be learned in 2 to 3 months.
Once completed, you only need to invest in a tailoring machine and table to get started. A tailor can charge Ksh. 3,000 for a dress. They only need 3 or 4 clients in a week to make around Ksh. 15,000. Simple day to day jobs involve simple attire repair and adjustment jobs which can fetch Ksh. 2,000 a day or more.
Farming remains the vocation with the biggest potential for Kenyans. Animal farming and crop farming are well suited for Kenya due to the climate we enjoy. Farming does not need much capital.
There are many small-scale ventures that one can start on small portions of land and reap great profits. These include ventures such as animal husbandry in poultry, rabbit, bees, and fish. Today people are also keeping silkworms for good money.
There are methods for growing crops in limited land space such as the sustainable gardening methods that include growing vegetables in sacks. An urban spinach farmer in an urban region in Kenya makes Ksh. 100,000 per month growing the vegetables in sacks.
Technical jobs are jobs that meet the daily demands of any community. Currently, in Kenya, technical jobs are mostly done by people who are untrained and hence lowly paid individuals. The output from such untrained workers is unpredictable and often mediocre.
With proper training, technical workers will provide better quality work and they will also be able to have higher productivity. This will, in turn, lead to very high returns in terms of the money one can make.
Employment opportunities will also be created as trained personnel will be able to set up their own businesses where they will employ many other Kenyans.