Fostering the Next Generation of Uganda’s Engineers 
Africa Opinions

Fostering the Next Generation of Uganda’s Engineers 

The oil and gas industry in Uganda cannot flourish without the knowledge and skills of local people, as Guillermo Salarich, business development manager, ABB Energy Industries Africa region, explains.  

The rapidly expanding oil and gas (OGC) sector in Uganda is constantly evolving as it needs to adapt to new digital and automation technologies that improve operational performance and efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, increase the life cycle of plants and assets, and reduce operational expenditure.   

For this reason, the OGC sector is one of the most exciting industries for people in Uganda to be involved in. The local workforce has a critical role to play in helping the industry continue to grow.

This in turn will have a positive impact on the economy, and encourage investment and job creation, both directly and indirectly, in other high-potential sectors such as water, power and transport.  

As the Ugandan president, HE Mr. Museveni emphasized in a recent article: “There is a need to have infrastructure developments such as roads, railways, electricity for both physical and social energy, including a large market that can consume in bulk to create wealth and jobs, and the OGC sector is part of this infrastructure… We are going to use the resources from oil to build durable sectors.”  

Diverse skill sets are in demand 

Digital, automated and virtualized technologies are key to the success of Uganda’s nascent OGC sector, but equally important is human capital.

Opportunities abound for the next generation of aspiring Ugandans – and not just in the field of engineering. The OGC sector and companies such as ABB, are committed to nurturing local talent and skills across diverse roles.  

Professionals well-versed in Uganda’s culture, have a much clearer understanding of local market and customers, making it quicker and easier for them to build valuable relationships with clients and suppliers.  

How can we inspire the next generation of OGC professionals in Uganda? This journey begins by instilling the skills and experience to the local workforce. Young talent represents the aspirations of a developing future for Uganda’s OGC industry.   

Diversity, equity and inclusion 

The future success of the OGC industry relies in the participation of Uganda’s women, a fact that is recognised by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), which is calling for greater gender inclusivity to encourage females from an early age into engineering, technology and energy roles.  

The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) is leading the way in promoting diversity and encouraging female participation in key management roles.

Historically present in Africa for more than 100 years, the company is committed to and recognises its social responsibility towards developing opportunities equally in the countries where it operates.   

ABB fully supports these efforts and runs internal and external training and upskilling programmes in technical, management and leadership, and soft skills, to help foster the next generation of Uganda’s engineers.  

A sustainable future 

There has never been a better time to join the rapidly expanding OGC industry in Uganda. The sector is embarking on a long, exciting road – and the engineers of the future can be part of that journey.   

The value of a sustainable OGC sector will be driven by people and digital innovation. Uganda’s economy and people will soon benefit from direct investment generated from the revenues of the industry. 

The focus is now on the OGC industry in Uganda – the government, UNOC, the Petroleum Authority of Uganda and technology companies such as ABB, among them – want to ensure the next generation of workers are equipped with the skills they need to achieve these goals.