• Oct 14, 2021 . 3 min Read
  • Ugandans to be equipped with knowledge on infrastructure projects

Anthony Okimat (Second from left) the project coordinator at the NSTEI-SEP Project and staffs for the contractor, AVIC-INTL Project Engineering Company. Photos by John Odyek
John Odyek
Journalist @New Vision

The National Institute for Technopreneurship (NIT) at Rwebiteete in Kiruhura District that is undergoing construction, will seek to equip Ugandans with formal and non-formal education backgrounds with skills that can enable them to get employed.

Anthony Okimat, the project coordinator at the National Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement Project (NSTEI-SEP), said the institute will provide skills to enable Ugandans to participate in infrastructure projects such as electricity, roads, oil, gas, water, railway construction and manufacturing. 

NIT is one of the projects under NSTE—SEP that is being implemented by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology.

Okimat said they are working on modalities as the training is expensive, but Government plans to subsidise the training to make it affordable for Ugandans. 

The institute set up is funded by a $25m (sh90b) loan from the EXIM Bank of China with counterpart funds from the Government.

The contractor, AVIC-INTL Project Engineering Company designed the project in collaboration with the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology.

It is expected to undertake all works up to the handover and commissioning stage.

Seated on a 45-acre piece of land owned by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, the institute comprises an engineering hub that will have different units such as automotive, agricultural mechanization, industrial technology, civil construction, electrical and electronic, as well as research and development.

The centre also consists of an administration block, a health facility, library, dining hall for the trainees, a residential area with a wing for the females and male students, as well as a guest wing that will offer special accommodation for students that wish to pay for them.

The institute has a residential area for the instructors, a stadium for sports such as football, volleyball, basketball and netball.

It has a parking area for construction machinery which the project will be acquiring to help teach learners the practical aspects of operating, maintenance and making of equipment.

The institute will retool people who are already in employment but would want to acquire new skills or sharpen their skills.

“We shall be providing what we have termed as the flexible factory manufacturing and infrastructure learning model. The hubs will have mini-factories so that you don’t come to learn theory alone but you also learn the practical aspects,” Okimat said.

“We are looking forward to being able to produce something. If you are in the automotive unit, at least you should be able to produce a nut that will be used by Kira Motors or produce a part for a car that will be used in the industry,” Okimat explained.

Okimat explained that the centre will train university graduates who want to get engineering skills of their choice to make them employable. 

He said there will be training for instructors in other vocational institutes across the country, and train those who have not attained higher education as well as those who are talented and need to be nurtured and helped to formalize.

“We are working with the Department of Industrial Training and UBTEB on issues of accreditation and certification,” he added.

Construction works started in March 2021 with progress estimated at 30%. The facility will be completed by December 2024.

Derrick Naduli, the clerk of works at AVIC-INTL Project Engineering Company, said COVID-19 had impacted the progress but they recovered lost time. 

Naduli said that in some sections of the project, they were ahead of schedule.

 Naduli added they were working day and night to meet the completion deadline. 

He noted that the workers had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and were following SOPs during work.

NIT is one of three components of the Technology, Engineering and Innovation Skills Enhancement Project (NSTEI-SEP) which are currently being undertaken by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. 

The other components are the Technology Innovation and Business Incubation Centre (TIBIC) at Kampala Industrial Business Park in Namanve-Mukono District and the Technical Service Company (TSC) that will provide the services of leasing and rentals machinery for Uganda’s infrastructure projects.

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