The Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) has secured new equipment worth euro 2.6m (sh11b) as part of its revamp. The procurement of the new equipment is part of the move by the Government to transform UPIK into a centre of excellence for oil and gas training, according to Bernard Ongodia, the institute principal. These include high-tech upstream oil and gas training equipment, downstream petroleum equipment, instrumentation, welding, forging and foundry equipment. Ongodia said the upstream equipment will be used to train technicians on oil exploration, development and production, whereas the downstream equipment will be utilised to offer hands-on experience in petroleum distribution, marketing and sales. The equipment was delivered at the end of May and has since been installed in the new workshops. Ongodia said the new equipment will enable the institute train the right technicians for the industry. “We have the best equipment, some of which you will never find anywhere in the country. We want to produce the best technicians for the world of work,” he said. “We rolled out the new oil and gas curriculum which was internationally developed. We have also trained our staff to handle the new challenges and the equipment,” Ongodia added. He made the remarks in an interview with New Vision at UPIK in Kiryandongo district.
THE NEW INFRASTRUCTURE
UPIK has five new workshops. Of these, four have been completed and are currently under use. The last one is expected to be completed before the end of this year. These include electrical, mechanical, instrumentation, welding and fabrication workshops, according to Oscar Muhumuza, the deputy academic registrar at UPIK. He said the institute will have new laboratories such as computer-aided design laboratories, information and communications technology centres, and assimilators equipped with modern technology, certified and supervised by international assessment bodies. Muhumuza added that the institute will also have a health centre III, which will serve as a sickbay for its learners and staff. The other completed infrastructure include a 300-bed capacity students’ dormitory, teachers’ quarters and the administrative block. Another 300-bed capacity dormitory is near completion and it will be for female students. The Government is also constructing a new computer laboratory and teaching complex, which will accommodate about 300 students at time. “Since inception, UPIK has been operating in prefabricated buildings. These once served as students’ accommodation facilities, workshops, training rooms and offices. But we are having real facilities,” Muhumuza said.
The above facilities have been provided with funding from the World Bank and the Government, through the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project (ARSDP). ARSDP is a $25m (about sh94.9b) World Bank-funded project in the education ministry. It provides assistance to UPIK.
So far, UPIK has been confirmed as a centre for City and Guilds training and the Engineering Construction Training Industry Board. The institute was granted approval as a centre to offer City and Guilds qualifications on the November 21, 2018. The City and Guilds accreditation allows UPIK to offer 23 City and Guilds programmes from level one to three. UPIK recently signed the International Technical Tests Licence 2019, International Health and Safety Passport Licence 2019 and International Competence in Engineering Licence 2019. They are set to obtain the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation certification. If it goes according to plan, UPIK will be the first in the East and Central Africa to obtain the certification. All these, Ongodia said, are geared towards training holistic personnel ready to work in the oil and gas sector.
UPIK was started in 2009 as a result of a presidential directive in which President Yoweri Museveni called for the establishment of an institution offering specialised training in oil and gas courses. In July 2011, it became a legal entity following the Statutory Instrument No.31 of 2011 entitled — The Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions (Establishment of Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba) Instrument, 2011. UPIK started with training a diploma in petroleum studies, a programme which was later amended and formed a diploma in petroleum engineering, which was accredited by the National Council for Higher Education.