Heavy Good Truck Drivers in Uganda have acquired skills on how to operate heavy goods vehicles especially those used in the Oil and gas sector.
The training saw 12 truck drivers successfully completing their heavy goods vehicles driving training in the oil and gas sector. 3 Trainers driving instructors also completed the training which was conducted by Uganda Professional Driver’s Network (UPDN).
It is hoped that about 2500 truck drivers will be employed in Uganda’s oil and gas sector when it finally kicks off.
“The Covid-19 pandemic greatly affected the process especially of the instructors who are instrumental in the training of other drivers,” said Ndugu Omongo, the Executive Director of the Uganda Professional Drivers Network.
He said that the first three drivers who have qualified as instructors earned a Certificate of Competence for the Oil and Gas industry.
They are using the EAC approved HGV driver training curriculum that will enable the truck drivers to favourably compete for the jobs in the oil and gas sector.
The induction training was the first of several that are being planned for the next three years as part of the move to continuously professionalize the heavy goods vehicles driving the industry.
The project basically aims at training and certifying 4 Instructors and 150 Heavy Duty Truck Drivers while connecting them to decent employment.
The training is being jointly provided by Transaid, at the Safe Way Right Way School, that will be training 75 of the 150 drivers.
The other 75 will be trained by the Uganda Driving Standards Agency (UDSA), UPDN will source the drivers/trainers, monitor and evaluate the project and market the certified drivers.
“As we are aware of requirements of standards for oil and gas jobs, which many Ugandan drivers lack, the need for this certification largely arose from the need to have more Ugandans join the oil and gas sector that is expected in the Albertine Grabben, but also to create a safe and conducive environment for these drivers to enjoy their profession in the same sector,” stated Omongo.
Omongo said that they have a database of some 5,000 (Registration was done by Ministry of Works and Transport, Petroleum Authority of Uganda and UPDN) heavy goods vehicles drivers from whom those qualifying for the exercise will be continuously selected.
“An empowered driver is a strengthened driver that is why we created a database.
“We hope it will help liberate the drivers from the exploitative environment they presently operate in.
“Equipping the drivers with additional skills would secure the environment they work in as they will have more secure job contracts and peace of mind because of job security, which in the long run would create safer roads for all,” he explained.
To achieve the certification, however, the drivers will have to undergo a six-days vigorous refresher training exercise that is fully paid for by the Government of Uganda through the Skills Development Facility under the Private Sector Foundation Uganda. This is one of the many pieces of training these drivers will go through over the next three years.
“The consultant who was awarded the contract for development of a mobile application to host data for marketing, but also to support UPDN and Government demerit system will require the successful truckers to observe and maintain strict professional driver standards as ambassadors for professional drivers in Uganda.
“UPDN, on the other hand, will ensure that the drivers are marketed not only for oil and gas but for other sectors as well both within and outside Uganda,” Omongo told the instructors and drivers.
Bazirio Kivumbi, one of the beneficiaries of the training said he was grateful for the training and hoped that this would enable him to pass on what he had learnt to other drivers with the long term goal of creating safer roads for all and stable employment for his students.
Denis Omara the Head of programs at UPDN observed that the program has been appreciated by the drivers and requested UPDN to extend it countrywide.
“It is clear from these interactions that the drivers are appreciative of the initiative of the drivers’ card and a streamlined driver’s database coordinated by UPDN.
“They also suggested that through UPDN coordinating their driver groups/associations, driver welfare cooperative could be formed. The drivers also requested UPDN to extend refresher training at even district levels,” said Omara.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO