As Uganda nears the final stages of producing commercial oil and gets in line with supporting local content participation in the country, companies have started the process of training Ugandans for the different jobs.
Total E&P Uganda, the company in charge of developing the Tilenga and EACOP projects, unveiled the first batch of welding students to be trained as part of a training programme launched earlier this year, writes JUSTUS LYATUU.
Jean Yves Petit, the project representative, said shortlisted candidates will undertake specialised training in 2G and 4G coded welding levels in line with the industry standards and requirements.
The training comes at a time when the company, together with some of its partners, is in negotiating a Final Investment Decision for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, which will kick-start the construction process. The training will be carried out with a consultant, The Assessment and Skilling Centre (TASC) and GIZ that will provide technical training.
“The training is, therefore, aimed at enhancing the employability of Ugandans from the Albertine region and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline areas. They will be trained to international standards,” he said.
Uganda is preparing for key project works such as the construction of the central processing facilities, a refinery and a crude oil pipeline.
Petit explained that at the end of the training, the students will be internationally certified welders of the American Welding Society if they pass the certification tests. This will increase their employability not only within the oil and gas sector in Uganda but also in other sectors and in other countries.
So far, two training centres have been set up; one in Buliisa to cater for candidates from the Albertine districts, and the other in Lwengo district to cater for candidates from the pipeline districts.
Each batch of 25 candidates will undergo three months’ training, which will involve technical classroom training as well as practical welding.
Petit said “the training will enhance the students’ knowledge and skills in order to meet the anticipated demands of the project as well as also ensure adherence to the highest standards of quality, health, safety and environment.”
Uganda is expected to start producing commercial oil by at least 2020. Peninah Aheebwa Kajura, the director, Technical Support Service at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, said a recently carried-out skills analysis found out that the oil and gas sector needs 160,000 low-level artisans.
“Government says three quarters of the projected jobs will require technical and vocational skills and hence welders that form the first batch of 25 out of the 200 students targeted for this initiative,” she said.
Over the past years, government has been involved in initiatives for the sector’s skills development, including setting up of the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) and development of undergraduate training at Makerere University.
In July, Cnooc, through Sunmakers oil and gas training institute, sponsored 30 Ugandan students from the Albertine region to be equipped with international welding skills under the Welders Certification Program.
Under the programme, students are undergoing a thorough three- months of training. Other players like Tullow Oil have over the years trained Ugandans to work in the oil and gas sector.