Construction of METRAC begins - Uganda’s first mechanical engineering training centre

METRAC is UNIDO's PPDP project that addresses the skills gap for the operation and maintenance of road construction equipment in Uganda. The training centre is scheduled to start operating in January 2024.

To address the industrial skills gap in Uganda, the Government of Japan, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Works & Transport (MoWT) and UNIDO, with technical support from Japanese partner Komatsu Ltd., are building the first dedicated training centre for road construction equipment operators in Uganda, METRAC (Mechanical Engineering Training and Advisory Centre – Luwero). 

The groundbreaking ceremony to mark the onset of the construction of METRAC was held in Kakinzi village in Luwero District on April 5, 2023.  The Minister of Works and Transport of Uganda, Hon. Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, H.E. Hidemoto Fukuzawa, and the UNIDO Country Representative, Mr. Bruno Otto Tokwiny, presided over the ceremony. 

METRAC is one of over a dozen Public Private Development Partnership (PPDP) projects implemented by UNIDO, with the main aim is to bridge the skills gap in operating and maintaining road construction equipment in Uganda, while also addressing youth unemployment in the country. 

“The government realized that the biggest bottleneck in the use and care of the road equipment was the unskilled operators, yet no deliberate effort had been made to train the manpower to operate the road equipment. We have lost machines as a result of the unskilled operators”, said Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport, Hon. Gen. Katumba Wamala. He emphasized the need to get the youth prepared to enrol in the training once METRAC’s construction is concluded. 

The Government of Uganda purchased a 10 acre plot of land in Luwero District for the construction of the training centre, while UNIDO ensured a streamlined construction process starting with a topographic survey, geotechnical investigations, engineering designs, and finally the selection of a qualified construction company through an open international procurement process.  

The UNIDO Country Representative in Uganda, Mr. Otto Tokwiny, noted that UNIDO is proud to provide its expertise in the implementation of the project. He stated that “UNIDO has significant experience in the operation of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs with a particular focus on heavy duty/construction equipment.” 

The construction of METRAC is expected to be completed within the next 9 months. In parallel to the construction process, UNIDO already trained Uganda’s first batch of road construction equipment operator trainers, who received the nationally accredited certifications in September 2022. Some of the operator trainers will be based at METRAC once the training centre is fully operational, making this a centre of excellence to train operators from the Ugandan public and private sectors, as well as youth, on motor graders, excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders, and back hoes.