At 30 years, Bonny Frank Lutwama is not different from many of his agemates-desirous of a better life.
When he came across a scholarship advertisement online, he applied immediately.
“I saw it on LinkedIn and realized I had all the required qualifications,” Lutwama stated.
A resident of Lwengo, which is a short distance from the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) route, Lutwama is pursuing a three-month course in welding, fabrication, and pipework offered at Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK).
Almost a month into the training. he named teamwork, marking, and cutting out using tools like grinders as some of the skills he had acquired.
He is among 25 men and women pursuing an international vocational qualification (IVQ) at UPIK. Thanks to the Company (UNOC), the students got scholarships meant to impart skills and subsequent employment in the oil and gas sub-sector.
The scholarship programme targeted people from UNOC’s project areas with prior related training. It was launched at UPIK on 15th June 2022.
Addressing attendees at the launch on behalf of fellow trainees, Lutwama thanked UNOC for the opportunity.
“The students are hopeful and determined to have a bright future following this training. We are very grateful to the sponsors,” he stated.
Representing the CEO, Proscovia Nabbanja, Dr. Michael Mugerwa stated, “our international vocation qualification welder scholarship initiative is in response to the sustainable development goal four that focusses on quality education.”
Dr. Mugerwa is the General Manager of the Uganda Refinery Holding Company, a UNOC subsidiary.
He added, “In a bid to develop oil & gas expertise in Uganda’s oil & gas sector, UNOC in collaboration with UPIK, sponsored 25 youths from the Albertine Graben and the pipeline districts to develop their careers in welding for the IVQ foundation and proficiency level.”
The training is in line with the 2nd and 7th pillars of the UNOC National Content Strategy namely National Skills Development and Community Content Development.
According to Petroleum Authority of Uganda’s Gloria Sebikari, who represented the Executive Director, the training was timely.
“The final investment decision has opened many opportunities especially for certified technicians. PAU’s mission focusses on creating sustainable value in the country. The scholarships from UNOC will contribute to a critical pool of talent needed in the construction phase of the oil and gas sector,” she said.
Head National Content at the Directorate of Petroleum, Brian Kabalega echoed Sebikari’s statements.
“Several studies have confirmed that these skills are the most needed in the ongoing construction phase,” he told participants.
He reiterated the Government’s resolve to ensure educating, training, and skilling Ugandans.
UPIK Principal, Bernard Ongodia commended UNOC, particularly the CEO and other joint venture partners, for supporting training through scholarships.
The institution, he stressed, was keen on imparting skills to make students exceptional and competitive.
Before the launch, the students showcased their newly acquired skills in the workshops, which are furnished with modern instruction equipment.
At the peak of the Oil & Gas activities, 160,000 people will be employed (14,000- directly employed in the oil and gas sector, 42,000 indirectly employed, and 100,000 induced employment). At least 70 per cent of the jobs being created in the projects are for qualified technicians with international accreditation.