Oil & gas

Victoria University Moves to Fill Uganda Oil Skills Gap

Africa’s Oil and Gas sector continues to show substantial growth, despite regulatory uncertainty and corruption, according to PwC Review for the year 2013.

However, major African markets indicate enormous challenges in the oil and gas companies fuelled by fraud, corruption, theft, poor infrastructure and a lack of skilled resources.

According to Chris Bredenhann, PwC Africa Oil & Gas Advisory Leader, regulatory uncertainty and delays in passing laws have been cited as some of the factors severely inhibiting sector development in many countries around the continent

“As a result of the number of challenges in the market, meticulous planning is required,” Bredenhann said.

The survey that draws upon the valuable experience and views of industry players in Africa oil business seeks to provide an insight into the latest developments affecting the industry.

The findings revealed that, oil & gas industry in Africa continues to show substantial growth, with new hydrocarbon provinces developing at a significant pace.

For example the large gas finding in Mozambique and Tanzania has caused the world to take note of Uganda and Kenya as an emerging player in the global industry.

In Uganda, it is hoped that the successful oil refinery bidder will be named in early 2014.

Skills dev’t

However, the mandate for local skills development has become a concern for businesses operating in the oil and gas sector.

In 2012, the survey showed that 25 percent of the total workforce at respondents’ companies comprised expatriates in Africa.

This year, the proportion of expatriates has dropped significantly – down to a mere 10.6 percent of the workforce surveyed.

Victoria’s role

Victoria University in Uganda is providing an opportunity to companies to fill middle to senior management as well as specialist technical roles with locals with graduates trained in oil and gas.

The University’s Vice Chancellor Dr Stephen Robert Isabalija says oil and gas courses empowers graduates to fill the employment gap being faced by Uganda.

“We continue to provide the labour market with well trained graduates in the budding oil and gas sector,” he said in an interview with Chimpreports recently.

He further said Victoria University has partnered with U.S.-based IP3 (Institute of Private Public Partnerships), to deliver courses in private-public partnerships accrediting the Oil and Gas courses for Victoria University.

With ties to the banking and oil industry, Victoria University enables students receive first hand information and career presentations about the oil sector.

Majority of Ugandan companies acknowledge that skills, people training and development are among their top-five strategic priorities over the next five years.

Experts say this shows the importance that industry is placing on local content initiatives and the significance that skills development has on executive-level agendas, an area where Victoria University will play a part.

Statistics show that by close of 2013, CNOOC, Total and Tullow boasted a work force comprising 60 percent, 70 percent and 80 percent Ugandans respectively.

However, most Ugandans lack the necessary skills to occupy well paying jobs in the areas of engineering and construction thus handing such golden opportunities to expatriates.

Isabalija says the Oil & Gas Certificate (O&G) is a “6-week course designed to provide students with a well-rounded, global understanding of the ever-changing oil and gas industry.”

He adds: “It is developed and delivered by experts trained in all aspects of the oil and gas industry.  The course units will be delivered in form of presentations by oil and gas experts, videos, and interactive question and answer sessions.”

The institution’s chancellor adds that the “certificate in oil and gas is a gateway to employment opportunities in Uganda’s oil and gas sector and for furthering your studies in this vibrant industry.”

The course targets individuals working in the oil and gas industry who seek a greater understanding of the fundamentals in the global oil and gas business; professionals making the transition from technical roles to managerial positions, where a broader knowledge of the business is essential for their career advancement; new employees and support staff of the oil and gas companies wanting to gain a broader understanding of the various aspects of oil and gas sector; and business students studying the oil and gas industry and looking for a comprehensive global learning experience.

The oil and gas sector in Uganda is expected to will create between 11,000 – 15,000 direct jobs and 150,000 indirect opportunities, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

At least 5 percent will be employed in the engineering and managerial positions while 60 percent will comprise craftsmen and technicians while the rest will do causal jobs.

For more information: http://www.vu.ac.ug/

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