Young people looking to tap into the oil and gas sector have been urged to identify their entry points to ably participate in the sector.
As the nascent oil and gas sector takes shape a number of opportunities have been identified along the value chain presenting a dilemma for many youth intending to participate in the sector.
Ruth Biyinzika Musoke, the head Skills Development Facility at the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda speaking at the 90 days of Oil and Mining segment on NBS TV broadcaster, noted that owing to the nature of the sector and all the opportunities abound through forward and backward linkages with other sectors in the value chain, youth tend to get lost in the maze and don't know where to make an entry point.
"It is very important for young people to know that the platforms that have been created by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda offer them opportunities to tap into the sector," Biyinzika said in reference to the National Oil and Gas Talent Register and National Supplier Database.
She said the youth are perhaps intimidated into thinking that it targets the big player in the industry alone, hence the need for collective efforts by government and other stakeholders across the country to avail as much clarity about how the youth can participate.
She further noted that the 90 days of oil and mining has provided an important platform for youth to get informed about the available opportunities out there and where to make their entry point.
"I want to request the PAU, the ministry that across the country at whatever level, even when I'm a young person in agriculture I should be able to know where is my entry point, what is there for me? That is an area where we need to work together to ensure that people are able to understand," she said.
Biyinzika however noted that the youth are also ignorant about what skills are required for the different opportunities in the sector, citing cases where they have extended funds to institutions to offer training but instead struggle to attract trainees.
"We have given the Chamber of mines some resources, we have given Kigumba, we are working with Safeway Right way but sometimes they have challenge getting the young people to come in for even the free training to get certified," she noted.
As part of efforts to prepare youth for the sector Alex Byamukama, National Content officer at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, said they are working closely with the Stanbic Bank Business Incubator to build capacity for young people through business training, mentoring and coaching in addition to engaging other stakeholders on how to bring youth into the conversation on local content.
He said young people will benefit when the big contractors in the Tier One sub contract smaller companies on the many projects expected.
"We know there are youth who have set up their small businesses. Our mission is to reach out to them through the Business Incubator to build their capacity," he said, adding that they have conducted outreach clinics to support youth in registering their businesses on the National Suppliers Database.
He further explained that in partnership with oil companies and other stakeholders they have been able to train youth in preparation for the highly specialized sector and supported their registration on the National Oil and Gas Talent Register.
Among the sixteen sectors that have been ring fenced for Ugandans to supply goods and services in the oil and gas sector youth have been encouraged to seize opportunities especially in catering, security, supply of locally sourced construction materials and ICT
Further discussing interventions to ensure youth access available opportunities in the sector Joel Bamwise, programmes manager Stanbic Business Incubator said they are working in partnership with UNDP to avail trainings to the youth. He noted interested youth can access the program from across the country since they are well spread our through their branch networks
He said they have positioned themselves to prepare those who might not be able to go through formal education of the oil and gas institutes to benefit from the industry. He said they prepare companies for business management, contract bid management and quality assurance
Donald Agaba, deputy team leader Skills for Development at GIZ, speaking about how youth can optimally benefit from the sector, advised that young people need to maximize on knowledge acquisition and mastering their trade of choice than being preoccupied with how soon they can get a job in the sector.
He shared that of 22,000 youth that have benefited from the skills training, 7000 have already gotten placement in different institutions to gain experience in their different trades.
"Another key thing to look out for is transferability. When the youth are looking for occupations or trades you can get into is transferability is key. There are some trades which are very oil and gas specific and others that aren't. So what we focus on is trades that can be transferred which is why we have been able to place people over the years.
"And of course there is no definite answer as to whether training will take six months, one year or five years or whatever. It is more about getting the knowledge that you need in order to inform yourself of where you can fit in," Agaba said.