KAMPALA — As part of ongoing efforts to prepare Ugandans for jobs in upcoming infrastructure projects such as oil and gas sector, Solid Rock Uganda is equipping over 1500 youths with intense skills in areas of construction, pipe rifting, carpentry and rigging among others.
The training is implemented by the Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa (E4D/SOGA) programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and Shell.
The training which is part of E4D SOGA, Employment for Sustainable Development in Africa initiative is inplemented by a consortium between GOPA(www.gopa.de) and Solid Rock Life and Business(www.solidrockgroup.ca) while funding is by GIZ, UKaid, Norad, Shell and The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
To ensure the relevance of training and buy-in of potential employers, all courses are designed together with private sector players including international oil companies (IOCs), Engineering, Procurement, and Construction firms (EPCs) and local construction companies.
Graduates will be certified by the Engineering, Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) which is a widely accepted certificate that has a major emphasis on HSE, vital in the oil and gas sector.
“Our objective is to bring young Ugandans into jobs. What is important to note is that the skills trained here are transferable to the general construction sector and not focused only on oil and gas projects. A pipefitter can work in the oil and gas sector but also in all other types of plants e.g. chemical plants, hydropower plants, coal plants, in factories, in steam and drainage works, etc. Similarly, riggers can work anywhere lifting of loads is necessary, ” said Mr. Ronald Ssempebwa, the project coordinator.
”As most megaprojects in the oil and gas sector have not yet kicked off, we have a strong focus on matching students into jobs. We are establishing good cooperation with the sector, ” he added in an interview with PML Daily, at career fair held at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute.
He said that the training is carried out in cohorts and that already 800 trainees have completed training and received their certificates.
The training is implemented at four training institutes in Kampala and Pakwach: Pacer Community Polytechnic (PCP) in Pakwach, Uganda College of Commerce (UCC) in Pakwach, Nakawa Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) and the Management Training and Advisory Centre (MTAC) in Nakawa.
It is implemented through two consulting companies – Solid Rock and GOPA.
”The launch of this project is timely and in tandem with the oil and gas sector development which will require qualified and internationally certified industry workmen,“ said Franklin Bouguep, Solid Rock Executive Director.
He said that the demand for the training has thus far been overwhelming, pointing to its relevance, but also to the need for more interventions to address Uganda’s unemployment.
“We are honored to be part of this initiative,” he said adding that the project has been very successful in young men and women in a profession that is traditionally seen as male-dominated.
The government put in place a National Content regulations law to ensure that when international companies come to execute project here in Uganda, like the oil and gas projects employee local people.
Mr. Bouguep said Solid Rock is helping Ugandans to acquire the skills through this project— giving them international certifications.
We interacted with a group youths some in their 20s to early 30s and the converged at Nakawa Vocational Training Institute for a career expo — interacting with potential employers that included Luuka plastic ltd, Uganda Baati, Pearl Engineering Ltd, Vambeco Uganda Ltd, Hardware World, Bamuga Forwarders among others.
Mr. Bouguep said that Solid Rock engages potential employers to take on some of certified trainees.
Aron Okwanga, one of the beneficiaries in health and safety site engineering appreciated Solid Rock for the training — saying the project has greatly impacted his life.