Up to 100 companies have been able to take their staff through short-term trainings using funds that the World Bank channeled to the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
“We have worked with over 100 companies, informal sector, community-based organizations, while over 1,000 internship places have been offered. This year, we are also planning for 1,000,” Ruth Musoke Biyinzika, the skills facility manager at PSFU, said. She pointed out that more than 50,000 lives have been touched in 70 districts since the project started two years ago.
The World Bank supported the PSFU with $18 million with an aim of delivering short-term trainings for workers in the formal and informal sectors. One of the beneficiaries from the training is Joshua Sendawula’s company Electrical Controls and Switch Gear, which has always wanted to expand their business.
“Our main work was to manufacture switch gears. But when we got some money and wanted to expand, there were no skilled personnel. So, we had to get people from China, Turkey and India,” he explained.
According to Sendawula, flying in these expatriates was very expensive, something that forced the company to put the project on hold. And yet, companies such as Umeme, the electricity utility company, was looking for such supplies from the local market.
It was not until 2017 that Electrical Controls and Switch Gear approached PSFU for support.
“We were able to get $35,000 for training and consultancy; three staff were trained as sheet tank designers, five doing the real wiring of the transformers. Right now we can make 33KV, 11KVA and 25KVA transformers,” Sendawula said.
According to Gideon Badagawa, the executive director at PSFU, the biggest challenge faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is in Uganda is the lack of skilled human resource.
“We want our entrepreneurs to enter the market and remain there. That’s when we speak of skills,” he said.