Jephitha Maingi is more than a happy lad. Barely out of his teens, the marine engineering sophomore has mastered command skills only expected of a military commander. As a parade commander during Marine Engineering Cadet pass out at the National Youth Service (NYS) – Gilgil, Jephitha’s military antics kept the crowd on its feet, whetting its appetite with each move. The skills however came at a price.
When Jephitha joined JKUAT to pursue the glamorous Bsc. Marine Engineering programme in 2012, he never conceived the idea of spending defining moments of his academic life at the NYS’s paramilitary camp. Like his contemporaries in the programme, this truth came to pass last June. Doubling up as the class representative, Japhitha led his twenty seven colleagues to undergo a five-week cadet training in Gilgil.
“It was frightening, confusing and hectic. The place was unfriendly, exercises alien and commanders larger than life,” recalls Jephitha of the first days at NYS.
Driven by strong desire to succeed, reinforced by his leadership role among his student colleagues, things soon changed.
“We soon got used to waking up at four in the morning, embracing the new physical and mental orientation as a result of the drills and exercises,” reveals the parade commander.
While the exercises and drills were no cup of tea, the positive effects rubbed on the young cadets spontaneously, leaving them yearning for more.
“Besides the learned skills, the training leaves one more disciplined, physically fit and ready to face challenges and opportunities in the maritime sector,” quips Jephitha with optimism.
Like every military undertaking, Jephitha Maingi was not alone at the command tower. Another able Student – General was Ms. Faith Mwaura, commanding Platoon Two.
Without the military gear, Faith’s enviable mannerisms would easily conceal her martial aptitudes. Beneath her veneer of smile however, rests steely command capacity.
The cadet training equally left Faith with indelible competencies and attitudes hitherto unknown to her.
“I am physically, mentally and emotionally better than when I started the programme,” enumerates Faith, evidently confident of her self defense skills.
What’s more for her, Faith believes the cadet training, coupled with other curriculum segments, will shorten her search for employment.
“This training has equipped us with the necessary competence to excel in maritime sector,” says Faith, adding that being a lady further boosts her chances of securing gainful employment upon completing her training at JKUAT.
Jephitha, Faith and twenty six others formed the third group to benefit from cadet training jointly mounted by JKUAT and NYS for students pursuing Marine Engineering programme. The programme is one among many thematic fronts of collaboration between the two institutions.
During the pass out parade Tuesday, July 9, 2013 the Deputy Director General, NYS, Mr. C.T. Muchiri urged the students not to shy away from exemplifying the skills, knowledge and attitudes in their future endeavours.
“Utilize your life saving skills to cushion yourselves from the social malpractices like drug and substance abuse and exposure to HIV/Aids,” noted Mr. Muchiri.
The Deputy Director General further noted that NYS was keen on its partnership with JKUAT to realize beneficial joint training, research and innovation towards the realization of Vision 2030.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga thanked the NYS management for committing resources towards successful cadet training of marine engineers.
“The Marine Engineering programme is a proactive response to the Kenya’s human resource needs for the ambitious LAPSET programme, currently being implemented by the government,” noted Prof. Imbuga in a speech read by Prof. Francis Njeruh, Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration Planning and Development.
The pioneer marine engineering students are currently in the final year of study. Cadet training is a core curriculum aspect of the programme that must be undertaken by the students.