China-funded skills training facility offers hope to youth

The minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye (left), launches the vocational skills training facility at Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park, yesterday. PHOTO/KOLYANGHA MUDANGHA

What you need to know:

The initiative is the outcome of the 2018 Beijing Summit on China-Africa Cooperation Forum.

A multi-million vocational skills training facility code-named ‘Uganda Luban Workshop’ has been launched at Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park.

The facility will provide technical skills to the youth that will enable them meet the job requirements on the global market. The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, while launching the workshop yesterday, said the facility will enhance Uganda’s industrialisation agenda.

“The Uganda Luban Workshop will be able to train technical talent for Africa and East Africa, and serve the economic development of Uganda and Africa at large,” he said.

The teaching equipment located at Uganda Technical College Elgon and a practical training base located at Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park will offer courses in mechatronics innovation and intelligent application technology, vocational skills training in electrical control, steel making technology, continuous casting technology, refining technology and introduction to metallurgy, among others.

The Luban Workshop, according to the principal of the Uganda Technical College (UTC), Mr Paul Mulima, has capacity to admit 400 students annually.

 “We are happy to witness the launch of the Luban Workshop in Uganda with the aim of providing high-end technical skills training to help our youth meet the requirements of the global market,” Mr Mulima said.

Uganda Luban Workshop is a joint project constructed by Tianjin Polytechnic College, Uganda Technical College Elgon and Tian Tang Group.

During the opening of the 2018 Beijing Summit on China-Africa Cooperation Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed eight major initiatives, including the establishment of 10 Luban workshops in Africa to provide vocational skills training to the youth of Africa. Uganda was among the selected African countries and the Luban workshop was made possible by Tian Tang Group, a Chinese enterprise.

The chairperson of Tian Tang Group, Mr Paul Zhang, said the Luban Workshop i is a response to the China-Africa Cooperation Forum.

 “The completion of the Uganda Luban Workshop will greatly enhance the development of Chinese-funded enterprise in Africa, meet the local employment needs in Uganda, and train professional technical talents for the enterprise,” he added.

The Chinese ambassador to Uganda, Mr Zheng Zhuqiang, said the project will further deepen the cooperation in vocational education between China and Uganda. “Since 2019, both sides have made joint efforts in the construction of Uganda Luban Workshop and completed it on schedule despite difficulties caused by Covid-19. I expect that this project will provide a new platform for technical and vocational training for the youth of Uganda,” he said.

About Luban workshops

Luban workshops were named after the father of Chinese architecture, Lu Ban, from around the 4th Century BC, and were designed by the Tianjin government. The Luban Workshop for Africa was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the September 2018 Beijing Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.