Lack of standardized training for vocational personnel may hinder Ugandans from taking up jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry. Technicians, metal works engineers, wielders and other craftsmen are crucial professionals in the oil sector.
Jackson Byaruhanga, the co-author of the National Participation in the Oil and Gas Industry, says that a study carried out in 2011 found that vocational training is uncoordinated and unstandardized. He says the training falls short of the required skills in the oil industry.
//Cue in: “Most of our artisans here…
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The study that was commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development notes that there is no standardized plan for building the competences of Ugandans to take up these jobs.
Byaruhanga adds that even the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba, which was set up to train technicians, tailored for the sector, has no curriculum and is yet to be certified. According to Byaruhanga, about 10, 000 Ugandans would need to be retrained to be absorbed in the sector.
The highest level of vocational education institutions in Uganda are the four Uganda Technical Colleges in Bushenyi, Kichwamba, Elgon and Lira. They offer both Certificate and Diploma programs, but even their graduates may not be skilled enough.
Silver Mukwasibwe, the Principal of Uganda Technical College Bushenyi, says that their graduates may have the basic skills, but not the specialized competencies required. However, these colleges’ curriculum is currently being reviewed by the National Curriculum Development Centre, and Mukwasibwe hopes that courses targeted at this new sector will be included.
But even if this was done, Mukwasibwe adds, the technology that the institutions use to train may be out of date for modern industrial needs. For instance, all the wielding machines at his college are manual, yet the field may require machines that work with Computer Numerical Controls, to achieve more precision. Training infrastructure raises yet another setback.
The privately-founded vocational institutions are currently carrying out reforms to assess candidates based on competencies, but also face the problem of unstandardized curricular.
James Ogwang, the Program Manager for the Uganda Association of Private Vocational Institutions says that the oil and gas industry is moving faster than training and will leave Ugandans behind.
//Cue in: “The industry is running much faster…
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Currently, four companies are carrying out oil exploration in the country, but there is no conclusive data on the number of Ugandans working in the Industry.
Byaruhanga says that the study findings have been shared with the Business Technical Vocational Education and Training Department (BTVET) of the Ministry of Education and it is in the process of developing a curriculum as well as staffing structures and examination standards.