The First Lady Janet Museveni has said both the private and public sector have a role to play in ensuring the country’s skills gap problem is addressed.
Speaking at a function to launch a welders’ certification program sponsored by CNOOC in Kampala on Thursday, Mrs.Museveni said there is still a big skills problem in the country but noted this is not only a duty of government but also the private sector to address.
“There is need for participation for both the private and public sector in skills development because it will help improve the unemployment problem both in the formal and informal sector,”Mrs. Museveni said.
“It is important for employers to build a competent workforce so as to increase productivity and competitiveness in the job market.”
The pilot project undertaken by CNOOC will see 30 students from various technical institutions in the Albertine region who will undergo a three month course in welding after which they will get international certification in welding at the Sunmaker Oil and Gas Training Institute in Bugolobi.
The gas and oil sector would employ over 13,000 Ugandans but the largest number of them lack the required competence to be employed in the sector.
The acting director in charge of petroleum in the Ministry of Energy Honey Malinga said welding skills would be required in the construction of the pipeline from Hoima to Tanga, Hoima to Kampala and also in other areas including airport and refinery construction all in the oil and gas sector.
According to officials from CNOOC, a Chinese company, the three months course will see selected welding students from the Uganda Technical College Kichwamba, St.Simon Peter Vocational Training Institute, Nile Vocational Institute, Kyema UTC and the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba sit for exams and get certified in shield metal arc wielding , a certificate which can allow them operate from any part of the world.
According to the National Oil and Gas Policy 2008, the companies in the oil and gas sector shall contribute to development of human resource development through among ways technology transfer and training of local human resource.
Government also put in place local content policy at 80 percent of workers in the oil sector being Ugandan nationals.