Skills shortages in East Africa open up opportunities for Scotland’s businesses

Oil and gas training providers, including Edinburgh College, set up camp in Tanzania and Mozambique to address skills shortages and capitalise on overseas opportunities 

With more than 100,000 people needing training over the next 10 years to support East Africa’s oil and gas, mining and construction ambition, a delegation of 10 Scottish oil and gas training providers are paying a special visit to Tanzania and Mozambique this week to offer their skills and experience to these markets and to capitalise on what Scottish Enterprise (SE) says are significant growth opportunities.
According to SE, East Africa is home to some of the largest offshore gas fields in the world yet is hampered by a lack of appropriate skills to maximise the opportunities. With little or no government budget, the region is reliant on initiatives such as Skills for Oil and Gas in Africa (SOGA), which was commissioned by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in January 2015 and co-funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID); the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and BG Group to urgently help equip local populations with the skills needed to secure employment.
It says this current ‘mission’ is designed to build on the success of two previous visits to the region in 2014 and 2015 organised by Scottish Development International (SDI), the international arm of Scotland’s economic development agencies, and supported by (the then) UK Trade and Investment, which resulted in success stories including:
  • a contract between Dundee & Angus College and People Positive East Africa Ltd to provide train the trainer welding courses to Kenyans
  • training courses being delivered in Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique by MDT International
  • oil and gas industry overview courses being delivered in East Africa by the Robert Gordon University on behalf of a number of International Oil Companies (IOC) looking to educate locals. (The University has also recruited many East African students to study engineering.)
International sector head for oil and gas at Scottish Enterprise David Rennie said: “Scotland is a world-leading training hub for the oil and gas sector and is well placed to support East Africa’s skills shortages. Companies are already seeing success in this key market and this third mission aims to facilitate, in this current climate, even more opportunities for our supply chain, particularly for those companies visiting for the first time.”
Commenting on his experience of joining the first SDI East Africa mission in 2014, managing director of MDT International Ltd, Drew Leitch, added: “Participating in the SDI mission to East Africa in February 2014 was a very positive and rewarding experience for MDT International. The well planned agenda meant that we had access to a range of extremely useful contacts that we quite simply would never have achieved if visiting under our own steam.
“The mission helped reinforce some of the client relationships that we already had in place and establish new client contacts. Subsequent to our participation in the mission, MDT have delivered public/open training courses in Tanzania and in Kenya and have delivered in-house courses for clients in Uganda, Tanzania and just recently we delivered training in Mozambique for the first time.”
This year, participating companies and colleges will have the opportunity to visit and gain first-hand experience of these dynamic, but challenging, markets, meet potential new customers , agents and or/joint venture partners and access a wide range of experts in all aspects of doing business in East Africa.
Those taking part are:
Dundee & Angus College
Edinburgh College
EPIT Group
Forth Valley College
Global SCS
Navitas Compliance Solutions Ltd
Sibbald Ltd
Skills@Work, Apt
People Positive East Africa (PPEA)
Synergie Training Limited
East Africa is a new international market for Explosion Protection International Training Ltd (EPIT Group), a technical training and consultancy firm for the oil and gas sector. The company hopes the mission will help it establish new contacts and opportunities which will lead to it becoming an established provider of training in the region.
General Manager of EPIT Group Martin Constable said: “Our products and services have grown extensively overseas, seeing us expand into regions such as The Caspian, The Middle East and the Far East. Our push now, with the support of Scottish Development International is to increase business in The Middle East and parts of Africa, and through a focussed and structured approach we are optimistic about achieving success.”
Local Content laws in East Africa demand that a certain percentage of local workers are hired by the international oil companies and their contractors.
During the visit companies will meet representatives from the Ministries of Education and Energy, IOC training departments, local colleges, SOGA, VSO and the British Council. The discussions will demonstrate that Scottish oil and gas expertise can be on hand to help upskill workers to the high benchmarks set by the O&G industry and therefore allow the IOC’s to meet their local content obligations and accelerate progress safely and efficiently.

 

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