Sask. Polytechnic instructors share their knowledge during Kenya teaching trip

Two Saskatchewan Polytechnic instructors who took their mechanical know-how to Kenya describe the experience an “opportunity of a lifetime.”

“That’s not even on my bucket list. I would have never even thought of going there,” Nick Guthrie told CTV News.

Guthrie and Rick Russell from Moose Jaw spent a few weeks at the Weru Technical Vocational College from October 20 to November 4.

He said what he learned during the “eye-opening” trip will stay with him.

“It’s an amazing country, fantastic people that can make something out of nothing.”

The trip was made possible through the Young Africa Works Technical Vocational Education and Training Project funded by the Mastercard Foundation and managed by Colleges and Institutes Canada.

Guthrie said he found the students easy to work with during the two-week venture.

“They were on task all the time, there was no joking around. There was no slack time. When they were in class, they were taking notes. They’re on task 100 percent, all the time.”

He said he saw the same love of learning in Sask. Polytech students.

(Photo supplied by Nick Guthrie)

“They want to get information, they want to understand how things work, they want to be able to get their hands dirty with them. I saw exactly the same thing over there.”

However, there were some things that made the job challenging.

“If I need an alternator for a vehicle that we’re working on or trying to demonstrate something, I can call the parts service, and can have an alternator within an hour. There you’re looking at a month in some cases,” Guthrie said.

“But they don’t have a complaint about it. That’s the amazing part. They’re smiling all the time. So as long as they’re getting information, they’re happy.”

Guthrie said language was another challenge, as many students had different levels of English.

“We never stood up in front of the classroom as far as instructing any part of the lesson. But when they moved things over to the shop atmosphere, Rick and I, we basically spread out and just kind of gave our information and demonstrated how we teach in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw,” he said.

“They picked up on it really quickly.”

While there, Guthrie and Russell demonstrated how to fix some equipment, they offered step-by-step instructions, developed manuals and slideshows, and helped the instructors understand the equipment so they could train students.

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