First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni on Thursday appealed to CNOOC, one of the oil companies in Uganda to train more Ugandans so that more can be able to gain from oil sector once oil production begins.
Mrs Museveni was speaking at the launch of the Welders Certification Program at the Sunmakers oil and gas training institute in Bugolobi Kampala where 30 Ugandan students from Albertine region sponsored by CNOOC will be equipped with international welding skills.
The Education minister said that government and the Ministry of Education is prioritizing skilling and equipping more Ugandans especially with technical skills.
“The ministry, with our partners, is prioritizing skilling in the second National Development Plan as a way of transforming the nation and working towards achieving middle class income. The oil and gas sector has been identified as a crucial sector that will help in achieving these goals” she said.
The program which was launched today is the first of the many to come for training Ugandans by oil and gas companies.
The 30 students selected from 5 oil and gas training institutions including Uganda Technical college Kichwamba, St.Simon peter VTI, Nile Vocational Institute, Kyema UTC and Uganda Petroleum institute Kigumba, all from the Albertine region will go through 3 months of training in shielding metal Arc welding ISO606 certification for 1G, 2G and 3G.
Speaking at the same function the president of CNOOC Uganda, Shun Qiang said the training was part of the company’s effort to train, skill and certify Ugandans as well as equip them with necessary skills and certification to participate in the budding oil and gas industry.
“As a company, we believe that one way we can be relevant to the Ugandan host communities community is by enabling them to be competitive in the job market by giving them industry related training and certification” he said.
Ernest Rubondo, the Executive Director Uganda National Petroleum Authority, said although there are technical institutions in Uganda that are offering training, the kind of skills acquired at those institutions is still of local standards and would not be fit for the international level and standards hence the need for the up skilling and training in the certified institutions
“The program that was launched today is a big step towards achieving and promotion of local content in the oil and gas sector” he said.
According to officials, over 1000 jobs specifically for technicians will be open for the first phase of the oil and gas production.
Uganda is expected to harvest its first oil in 2020 although there is pessimism.