As part of ongoing efforts to prepare Ugandans for jobs in upcoming infrastructure projects, the Skills for Construction (S4C) initiative was officially launched on 26th June 2019. The project aims to train a pool of 1,500 young people in basic construction skills, pipefitting and rigging.
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. E4D/SOGA works in close partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
Key to E4D/SOGA and the S4C project is its demand-led approach. 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. Innovative are the practical training methods simulating real-life industrial construction sites.
“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 Julia Mager, Team Leader E4D/SOGA Uganda. ”As most megaprojects in the oil and gas sector have not yet kicked off, we have a strong focus on matching students into internships and jobs. We are establishing good cooperation with the sector.“
The training is carried out in cohorts. Already 400 trainees have completed training and received their certificates at the occasion. 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 certified industry workmen,“ said Peter Lokeris, the State Minister, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD). ”This is in line with Government of Uganda’s Workforce Skills Development Strategy and Plan.“
”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 and are happy female participation is strongly encouraged,’’ notes Mary Mabweijano, Senior Advisor to the Norwegian Embassy in Kampala.
Other E4D/SOGA interventions across the country include the Professional Drivers Training Uganda Project, implemented together with Safe Way Right Way and Transaid, which aims to increase the supply of well trained and qualified Heavy Goods Vehicles and Passenger Service Vehicle drivers in Uganda; a targeted SME development programme including Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and Bid management trainings for potential suppliers to the oil and gas sector, and the Ready to Work project, implemented with Barclays Bank, which aims to equip youth with work readiness skills and support their transition into jobs through industry placements. Among others.