National Water and Sewerage Corporation's (NWSC) vocational training facility is set to pass out its first trainees on a special programme aimed at helping informal employees acquire qualification papers, writes MOSES MUGALU.
Matia Mutegerera joined National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) 25 years ago as a porter plumber, after dropping out of school. While learning on the job, he has become one of the most experienced plumbers in the water utility, over the years.
However, until recently he had no formal proof of the skills acquired, making it difficult to transfer them elsewhere and earn a living. But NWSC’s Ggaba Vocational Skills Training facility which has started a three-month special training programme could change Mutegerera’s fortunes for the better soon.
Here, he is one of the 28 plumbers and two welders working with the ministry of education’s Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) to acquire what are known as non-formal qualifications in their respective fields.
According to DIT’s director, Ethel Kyobe, Mutegerera and his colleagues will graduate in December after being examined on practical and technical competences. Kyobe, who visited the training facility last week, explained that successful candidates would be issued with a Worker’s PAS, a special certificate equivalent to an advanced diploma in those fields.
Kyobe said they have accredited NWSC to offer such practical training at its facility in a bid to re-tool informal workers whose skills could come in handy for government’s ambition of having a skilled labour force to drive the country into middle income status by 2020.
She noted that while Mutegerera had informally acquired skills, he needs papers to validate his qualification as a plumber in any case he seeks employment elsewhere in the water sector.
Since most of the targeted workers are not highly-educated, Kyobe said DIT developed user-friendly training manuals that can be understood without any language barriers.
Dr Martin Kalibbala, NWSC training and capacity development manager, says another batch of 60 workers will be enrolled on the programme in October as the utility continues to horn its employees’ skills to deliver better services.
He said training workers is part of NWSC’s five-year strategic direction through which the corporation has committed to providing 100% access to clean water in the country.
He also disclosed that after getting nod from the ministry, NWSC has embarked on constructing a fully-fledged technical school at Kachung in Lira district. Once completed, the school is expected to boost NWSC’s capacity to admit trainees from other institutions and the general public.