What you need to know:
- Outspan Medical College is a fully-fledged and accredited TVET institution in Nyeri.
- The college offers courses in clinical medicine, nursing, psychology, nutrition, hospital support and IT.
When the results for the 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams were released, James Mwaura was devastated.
He had not managed to attain the grade required to pursue a course in medicine, a career he had hoped to practice.
“I come from a family of medics, and was sure that this was the field I wanted to be in,” Mwaura says.
Still determined to study a course related to medicine, he joined Outspan Medical College, an extension of Outspan Hospital, in 2014, and in 2017, he graduated with a diploma in Health Records and Information Technology, a course that did not require him to attain a mean grade of A or the minimum of B+ in KCSE.
Afterwards, he enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in Mount Kenya University, graduating in 2019 – he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in monitoring and evaluation at the same institution.
The 26-year-old works as a health records and information manager at the Outspan Hospital in Nyeri Town. Once he completes his master’s degree, he intends to pursue a doctorate degree.
Demand for technical personnel
Many students that miss the marks required for particular courses are forced to venture into other fields totally unrelated to their field of passion. This has led to shortage of technical staff in these areas, yet the demand for technical personnel in areas such as medicine and engineering continues to increase.
This is what led to the opening of the Outspan Medical College, a fully-fledged and accredited Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institution in Nyeri.
From courses in clinical medicine, nursing, psychology and nutrition to hospital support and IT, a range of technical courses were introduced at the institution to ensure that those interested in the field would be trained and get certification.
“We have a gap when it comes to technical skills especially in local dispensaries, and the people they hire learn on the job, what we call prior learning, yes, they have the skills, but lack the certification – our college recognises prior learning,” says the institution’s dean of students, Silas Muguongo, adding that they release trained and certified trainees who fit right into the hospital jobs that they get.
The college is accredited by the Ministry of Health, National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Body (PPB) as well as TVETA, and the TVET Assessment and Certification Council.
Skills needed in hospitals
In some courses, the only qualification required to join is a Form Four certificate, enabling students to start training from the lowest level, the artisan level, before moving to craft, which is the certificate level.
For Hospital Support courses which are at the lowest level, the trainees are expected to have a Form Four certificate. The course takes one year, with theory being taught for three months, with six months spent on practical training while the remaining three months are spent getting practical experience at a hospital.
Such a graduate can not only work in a hospital setting, but can provide home-based care too.
Muguongo says that the institution scouts for skills needed in the hospitals before introducing them to the school.
“We let the industry tell us what it needs and we train our students on that because we don’t want to end up with people trained for something that is not needed in the market,” he adds, stressing that technical support skills are needed in hospitals, and are therefore marketable.