Hello, Ugandan young people.
How is Kampala? It is quite good here in Dar es Salaam.
But it was a little bit sad that you beat us three-to-nil on our national stadium in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
But that’s part of football. We have not lost the game; we have only learned.
First of all, I am happy the way your government handles the oil and gas industry. There is a bright future in the Ugandan oil and gas sector.
The second thing is that your local oil and gas sector is growing at a rapid pace.
Your country has just embarked on the development phase. And now, you have started building oil infrastructures so as to commercialise the newly discovered oil resources.
And thirdly, many major oil and gas projects are surfacing as expected.
You already have the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project and the soon-to-kickstart Tilenga project.
Clearly, infrastructures are key enabler for the opportunities in the oil and gas sector. There’s a lot of opportunities for young people in Uganda.
Although I don’t believe I’m old enough to have any grey hair, I believe I have experienced enough to share a few things with you.
Like other emergent oil economies, I see young people devising ways to penetrate and build a career in the industry.
Others are changing their career and studying oil and gas specific courses so as to benefit economically in the industry.
I don’t blame you. Nothing is bad in switching career or working in a field you are passionate about. After all, the oil and gas industry is one of the most rewarding sectors in the world to build and grow a career.
The oil and gas sector is booming in East Africa. Do not chase money in the sector; chase your dream. That is what will take us (young people) forward.
Also, don’t change your career to benefit in the oil and gas industry. All you need is to be good at what you do.
There is a misconception that you need to be petroleum engineer to benefit from the opportunities in the oil and gas sector. That’s totally wrong. The industry is run by engineers, geologists, human resource managers, public relations officers, communication officers, logistics and procurement officers etc.
So, whatever you do now for a living can be done in the industry. There are ancillary services. Someone can be a mechanic while another be a receptionist. There will be doctors and secretaries in the sector, too. Oil and gas companies need all these add-ons to make them successful. You don’t have to change your career, but you have to be good at your major.
Don’t rely on “help wanted” ads or job board to find industry jobs. Instead, build and expand you network of professional contacts who will help you find your next position in the industry.
In addition to that, any chance lands lands you in oil and gas sector, is an opportunity to learn and grow fast.
The last thing is that you must be patient. The oil and gas industry is a slow by nature and for good reason: because the industry don’t want or need bad decisions. People die if wrong decisions are made in the industry. So, finding a job or being trained in the industry might be delayed. It is a gradual process.
My fellow young people, those who hold senior position in your local industry today will retire in the next 10 years. The challenges of our industry will someday be yours. The better prepared you will be to respond to the challenges of the future.
The industry need many competent local workforce, but only serious young people will take the East African oil and gas industry to the next level.