A young female excavator operator who was featured by Kazi-njema News in May last year as a desperate job hunter targeting the oil industry, can now smile seeing her dream come true.
Joy Tumusiime, a born of Hoima City is among the few young women that took up a scholarship opportunity to get skilled in heavy machine operation to fill the skilled labour gaps anticipated in the industry as well as promote local content.
She had tried her luck in different fields including Journalism and teaching without tremendous success in her life as a girl from a humble background.
But now, Tumusiime is traceable from the traffic of heavy trucks clearing land for the gigantic TILENGA project in Buliisa district.
Being one of the only two female heavy machine operators under the project, makes her proud of acquiring the skill which is rare amongst women.
She believes her gender and the skill acquired have helped her to penetrate the oil industry and her hopes stretch beyond the TILENGA project.
Keeping her ear to the ground before and after the training, too, helped Tumusiime to be sponsored and and later get a job.
Sharing her experience as a female excavator operator- a job considered by the majority to be only affordable by men she says “some men even at the site try to undermine me but I disapprove them because I make sure that I move the machine sometimes better than them. But I can tell you that majority of the men encourage and give me guidance whenever I need it”.
Tumusiime can now confidently send a message of hope in the oil industry to all the youths saying that acquiring the relevant skills and keeping the ear to the ground is the sure way of grabbing the opportunities in the industry.
“My experience tells me that more companies are coming to the oil industry along with many opportunities. Especially to girls it is good to rush for skills that are normally considered to be for men like heavy machine operation. If a female goes for an interview with the majority men, her chances of being taken up are high given global agenda to promote gender equality,” she tips.
Without revealing how much Tumusiime is paid as salary and associated privileges she says she has no complaint for now.
Tumusiime is among the 50 young women of the 150 youths that attended a six-month-training in heavy machine operation sponsored by Enabel Uganda implemented by Sea oal/OGAS Services in partnership with St Simon Peter’s Vocational Training Centre in Hoima city last year.
Mr Samuel Mugisa, the Corporate Affairs Coordinator at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), told Kazi-njema News at the recent stakeholder engagement that given the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for Uganda’s oil industry, many opportunities are around the corner.
He encouraged self-sponsorship in vocational skills as well as harnessing any scholarship that surfaces.
TotalEnergies Uganda and CNOOC Uganda Limited – oil companies operating in the Albertine Graben have been taking up some youths for skilling programmes including welding and awarding them international certificates.
However, the demand for more scholarships remains high in view of the required labour force during the development of the Kingfisher project, the Tilenga project under way and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) around the corner.
PAU says that more than 160,000 both direct and indirect employment opportunities will be availed during the above projects.
The most required opportunities are builders, carpenters, electricians, welders, plumbers and heavy machine operators.
However, self-sponsorship to acquire skills that lead to international certification and eligibility to work in the oil industry remains an uphill task ahead of many oil projects host communities bearing in mind that many parents had misfired to heavily pay for degrees most of which have tested irrelevant to the oil industry in their vicinity.
Ensuring meaningful participation, the native youths in the oil developments is paramount for the smooth progress of the industry.
For the full account of Tumusiime’s dream to participate in the oil industry, listen to the “The Oil Radar” programme on Kazi-njema online radio on Sunday, April 24, 2022, at 3:00-3:20pm. It’s a Q&A live session where your feedback will as well be aired after publication here.
Download our application from Google playstore “kazi-niema radio”.
You may also listen directly from the website here by clicking the radio button on top near the logo.