Total E&P Uganda, one of the oil and gas exploration companies has unveiled the first batch of students to be trained under the welders training programme for jobs in oil and gas sector in the Albertine Graben.
The batch comprises 25 out of the 200 students targeted for the initiative. The training that was launched at Buhimba Technical Institute in Buhimba sub county Kikuube district, for welders in Buliisa, Masindi, Hoima, Mubende, Nwoya, Nebbi, Pakwach, Kakumiro, and Lwengo Districts.
The students will undertake specialized training in 2G and 4G coded welding levels in line with the industry standards and health, Safety and environment training among others. After the training, the students will be internationally certified welders of the American Welding Society Standard.
David Karubanga, the State Minister for Public Service said that the technical skills that the students are equipped with are crucial in the oil and gas sector. He said the youths should be prepared to tap into opportunities in the oil sector.
Jean Yves Petit, the Project Representative at Total E&P says the training will help enhance the student’s knowledge and skills in order to meet the anticipated demands of the project and ensure adherence to the highest standards of Quality Health, Safety and Environment.
The training comes amid preparations for the Final Investment Decision for the Tilenga and EACOP projects. Petit says the selected students will receive training that is of international standards and the skills acquired will make them employable not only in Uganda but Internationally.
Peninah Aheebwa, the technical director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) says the oil and gas industry has earmarked close to 160,000 jobs adding that 75 Percent of the available jobs will require advanced technical skills. He says the government will not lower the standards of technical skills needed in the oil and gas industry but rather adhere to the international job standards.
However, the target is to ensure that Ugandans from the Albertine region and East African Crude Oil Pipeline areas get employed.
Godfrey Mutabaazi, the Chairperson of Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA) challenged Total E&P to increase the number of the students and ensure that suitable candidates are not left out. He says when they were advised to select the students; they received more than 2000 applications from students who wanted to join the welding training course. However, only 200 were selected.
John Stephen Ekoom, the Hoima Resident District Commissioner (RDC), challenges the students to strictly listen to advice from their trainers in order to be able to acquire the necessary skills that would help them work in the Oil and Gas sector.
Samuel Wamani, a representative of the students tasked the oil Companies to first consider them when there are available opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector. He further challenges Total E&P to ensure that they under take other levels of vocational training after the current course they are undertaking.
The training will initially benefit 200 welders from Nwoya, Masindi, Nebbi, Buliisa and Hoima, as well as the districts along the pipeline route, to include Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo and Kyotera. The target is to ensure that Ugandans from the Albertine region and East African Crude Oil Pipeline areas get employed.
Of the 25 students in the first batch, there is only one female student. The first batch will undergo the training for a period of three months and three weeks. The training comes amidst concerns that the majority of the welders existing in the market cannot match the skills required for projects like the refinery and pipelines in Oil and gas.
The training is conducted by Ugandan Companies, Q-Training also known as the Assessment and Skilling Centre (TASC) and E360 Group Ltd.