By Our Writer
The VET Toolbox initiative, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has been officially launched in Kampala today.
The launch ceremony was attended by the Acting Assistant Commissioner , Bio-Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development , Mr. John Tumuhimbise and the Deputy Director and Head of Department/ Assessment and Certification -Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) at the Ministry of Education and Sports – Mr. Micheal Okumu.
Others were the Head of Programme, GIZ Energy and Climate Programme Mr.David Otieno , the Head of VET Toolbox-Ms. Bartelijne van den Boogert and the Head of Cooperation European Union Ms. Caroline Adriaensen .
The GIZ Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) programme is implementing the VET Toolbox initiative in 5 countries including Uganda. In Uganda, rural electrification through solar mini grids has been identified as the key priority sector for the VET Toolbox activities to skill and upskill Ugandans for job creation and sustainable employment -especially among the youth .
The regional focus will be in Lamwo (northern) and Mpigi (central) districts. This initiative will support Ugandan rural electrification ambitions by complementing the ongoing promotion of solar powered mini-grid solutions with skills development and tailor-made training for the needs and opportunities of the private sector and beneficiaries.
Focus shall be on supporting the set-up of solar-based mini-grids and solar home kits through skills development efforts, leveraging the creation of access to electricity in rural areas, as well as developing knowledge products on PUE measures. The initiative will also support the development and introduction of practical training modules and curricula for PV system maintenance (specialisation) and productive use of energy (PuE) at Vocational Training Institutions (VTIs) in northern Uganda.
In addition, the capacities of VTI instructors shall be strengthened, enabling them to train technicians on the proper design, installation, and maintenance of solar PV systems and PuE. To achieve its objectives, VET Toolbox will leverage both European and local investments that support job creation in the energy sector.
Mr. John Tumuhimbise the Acting Assistant Commissioner Bio Energy called for the continued effective implementation of the policy and regulatory frame to support the fast and safe development of the renewable energy especially solar across the country . He said that Uganda was leading in the promotion of these technologies in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
On his part Mr. Micheal Okumu the Deputy Director and Head of Department /Assessment and Certification noted that there was need to set up acceptable standards and streamline training . “ There is need to increase skilling of Ugandans in the Production use of Energy (PuE), put in place guidelines for training and align our qualifications and certification to recognizable international standards , “ he stressed.
Speaking at the launch, GIZ’s E4D Uganda team leader, Mr. Donald Agaba, remarked “The project intends to capacitate a total of 20 teachers and train 100 persons as solar technicians. The skills acquired by the trainees shall enable them to find gainful employment in the solar sector and offer improved services to local communities. The project also targets 300 beneficiaries to train in the Productive use of Energy.”
Ms. Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of Cooperation, European Union (EU) stated that, “under this project, selected enterprises shall undergo a business diagnostic to identify key constraints limiting their growth and competitiveness, which shall be followed by a series of training and technical assistance in areas of innovation and digitalisation, quality management, market development and access to finance.”
She added that the EU continues to support national economies to expand their share of local value addition and local job creation. A key component of the project will be working with Sustainable Business for Uganda Platform (SB4U) to establish a Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) which will be the entry point to bring both public & private sector actors together to openly discuss topics such as solar/ renewable energy. The outcome of the discussions will be documented, and the SB4U Platform will facilitate further follow-on discussions via their technical working group.
The citizens concerns
Participants decried the big number of unqualified people working in the sector and the substandard solar energy and other renewable products on the market . They called on government to increase enforcement of the existing laws to ensure the right quality of products is sold and used by the public .
About VET Toolbox: VET Toolbox is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is a partnership of leading European development agencies, including the British Council (UK), Enabel (Belgium), Expertise France (France), GIZ (Germany), LuxDev (Luxembourg) and AFD (France). The consortium is led by Enabel. VET Toolbox services accompany European investments to help improve local benefits (e.g., jobs, better incomes, local value chains) by addressing skills gaps. The main objective is an enhanced delivery of demand-driven skills development and VET, catering to investment needs in Sub-Saharan Africa’s selected countries for through targeted skills development and VET programmes. About the Sustainable Business for Uganda Platform (SB4U) The Sustainable Business for Uganda Platform (SB4U) was launched by the European Union (EU) and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) in March 2020 at the first ever Uganda-Europe Business Forum held in Kampala. The overall purpose of the Platform is to promote key partnerships between the Ugandan and European public and private sectors, improve the way we do business together and attract more invest
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