The Tullow Group scholarships scheme began in 2011 in Ghana. It has since been expanded to ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda.
Tullow gave me a spring board to achieve my dream and contribute towards national development in a very unique but sensitive sector. The scholarship is a ‘game-changer’ in my life. – Patson Arinaitwe, Tullow Group scholar, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
About the scholarships
British Council administers the scholarship programme on behalf of Tullow Group. The scholarships are for Masters-level students wishing to study in the UK.
The intention is that the scholarships will support local skills development especially, but not exclusively, for the oil and gas industries.
The scholarship currently covers Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Gabon, Cote d’ Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Uruguay, Guyana, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Suriname and is globally coordinated by the British Council Ghana office.
Scholarships were awarded to 20 Ugandans who travelled in September 2012 for their post graduate studies in England, Scotland and Ireland. The second cohort of 20 Uganda scholars joined British universities in September 2013.
The Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme aims to bring lasting benefits to the people and economies of the countries where Tullow operates. The scholarships support this agenda by helping to increase the number of people with expertise in oil and gas and other sectors.
Robert’s Journey as a Tullow Scholar
Robert Byaruhanga is a Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme (TGSS) Alumnus 2012/13.
He successfully completed a MSc in Oil and Gas Management at Coventry University. While in the UK, he also attended a certification course in Health Safety and Environmental Management accredited by the Institute of Occupational Hazards and Safety.
Excited when he got the news that he was among the successful applicants, he immediately started envisioning how life would be in the UK, meeting people from different countries and building long-lasting networks.
“The course I was given met my expectations. I had always yearned for an opportunity to engage myself in the oil and gas sector. Though I had no background in oil and gas, my personal belief of ‘I can achieve anything as long as I am committed,’ propelled me to success” says Robert.
The course was an uphill battle, but Robert and his former schoolmates from Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, and Fuji worked together to attain the best they wanted from the university.
How Robert found life in the UK, “The weather was a bit challenging, but I would dress up warmly. However, I really enjoyed the summer bit of it.” He says
Upon returning to Uganda, he decided not to go job hunting, but instead he started up his own business. Together with his fellow graduates from disciplines like Law, Engineering and Petroleum Economics asked the question “How best can we make ourselves relevant to the oil and gas sector?” Starting their own consulting firm was the answer.
“Our starting point was educating communities with information about capacity building in the mining industry. We started signing MOU’s with universities where we act as consultants and offer short courses in oil and gas.” Robert explained.
He says their consulting firm has been hired by several international organisations which include; Action Aid, USAID and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to carryout for them research.
Apart from engaging with international organisations, Robert has tried to make his impact felt in Bunyoro sub-region where he originally comes from. He partnered with a local community based organisation with the aim of minimising the impact of oil mining activities. He did this by starting a tree planting project. The project currently runs in the sub-counties of Kyegegwa and Kyangwale, both of which are active in mining.
Robert described the opportunity given to him by British Council and Tullow as ‘life changing’. He confessed that before going to the UK, he didn’t believe he could be shortlisted for a job in the oil sector. He added “After acquiring my education and certifications from the UK, I have become more relevant to the oil and gas sector.”
Robert’s academic journey continues to grow. Now a three star consultant he was awarded a scholarship by the Australian government to study a course in sustainable mining in Zambia.
When asked what more could be done on the home front to develop the sector, Robert advised that Uganda’s government should speed up the production process in order for the oil firms, communities and country to benefit.
He wrapped up the interview with a word of advice to future Tullow Scholars “Follow your dreams and pursue your passion. For when you attain educational skills from a first class country, you will never go wrong and you will always be on demand.”
Tullow Scholar motivated by humble beginnings
Meet Denis KakemboTullow scholar, who graduated with a Law Masters’ in Petroleum Taxation from the University of Dundee, Scotland. He emerged top of his class in November 2014.
However Denis’ road to success was not an easy one. He came from a humble background and says he would have struggled through school were not for the overwhelming support he received from various organisations. This, he says, was the driving force and inspiration to work harder.
He recalls his parents struggling to pay school fees in primary school but despite this he rose to become a Head boy and even won a scholarship for his secondary education. This gave him the opportunity to sail through secondary school without having to worry about school fees.
From secondary school to university all he did was excel. He was Head Prefect at Mengo Senior School and while at the renown Makerere University he was Prime Minster of the student’s guild. His success continued and eventually he won a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Dundee.
He says he will never forget his time in the UK. During winter it would get dark early which he wasn't used to. Despite this he was impressed by the quality of the education system and the facilities available to him. The course exceeded his expectations and he says he couldn’t have asked for anything more. It equipped him with the skills he needed to engage and serve his clients better. He returned to Uganda in August 2014 and has since then settled back into his old firm, this time with a new outlook on his future.
He believes the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme future candidates should trust the selection process. It is transparent and professionally managed. The scheme looks out for ambitious, passionate, driven young people committed to inspire change in their communities. He added that Uganda’s oil and gas industry is at its infancy stage and needs as much support as can be given to ensure it thrives.
Interview with Moses Ariong
Moses Ariong is a 2015 Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme scholar who completed his Masters’ Degree in Pollution and Environmental control at the University of Manchester. Upon his return he spoke to Collins Muhwezi, Marketing and Communications Support Officer in an interview at Kampala Serena Hotel.
What was life like in the UK?
The people in Manchester are very friendly and supportive. Manchester is a students’ hub and has a lot of sporting activities. Apart from interacting with the people, I enjoyed the first class facilities at the university. The laboratories and the reading space and the other amenities are designed to make a student comfortable.
The other good thing about Manchester was the weather. We never experienced severe winters like what my colleagues in other cities experienced. I was also lucky that in Manchester there was Ugandan food which made my feeding easier.
How was the scholarship programme?
I appreciate Tullow Oil Ltd and British Council for the facilitation; it was enough to carter for my wellbeing. All I had to do was concentrate on my studies.
The only challenge was that I reported late at campus due to visa issues. Luckily enough the lecturers were very supportive and helped me to catch up with the rest of the students.
What was the most impactful thing that you learnt on the course?
The course gave me an insight on the way projects are carried out. Before any project you have to carry out an environmental impact assessment. However, this is a big challenge in Uganda. If you look around we have lost so many natural habitants like swamps to pave a way for construction projects.
I learnt how to use different computer applications to ease my work. I was intrigued by the way exams are set. It’s not all about question and answer but you have to explain and also put into context different situations in others areas.
The level of commitment from the lecturers was amazing. They give you enough time to consult them and at times they look for you to check on your progress.
How life changed ever since your trip to the UK?
The way I think and look at things has changed; Right now I see challenges not problems and opportunities everywhere.”
Lastly, what plans do have for the future?
Currently, I am focused on building my NGO which I had started before I left for my studies in the UK. I am building partnerships and also seeking for funding in order to achieve my idea of supporting youth in eastern Uganda to get out of poverty.
Interview with Jasper Oketa 2015 scholar
Jasper Oketa, a 2015 Tullow scholar completed his Masters’ Degree in Commercial Law at the University of Birmingham. Upon his return he spoke to Collins Muhwezi, Marketing and Communications Support Officer in an interview at Kampala Serena Hotel.
Tell us about your life in the UK.
On arrival the biggest shock is the weather especially when you are from a country like Uganda where it is always warm. All over a sudden it becomes very cold. Getting the right clothing and where to buy them was a challenge. Luckily before I left for UK, I had booked a house within a church organisation and the people there gave me a warm reception. They helped me to settle in.
Though I missed home, I enjoyed the daily interaction with the people I met. I took time off to travel across the UK, meet people and established some business connections.
Every place you go to is unique. For example when I was touring the castles in Scotland, the weather, the people and their lifestyles are different. Even what they consider to be rural is very different from our Ugandan setting. All in all there is so much more to learn and enjoy in the UK.
How was the scholarship programme?
It was very challenging especially the first two months. Certain things like writing and presentation skills that befit a master’s student, I had to teach them to myself.
The course was a very comprehensive and extremely rigorous. It composed of daily and weekly assignments. Fortunately they were very many people from other places to interact with and also to seek help from.
From the course I learnt some valuable research skills, which I have integrated into my daily work.
How has life changed since your trip to the UK? Both career wise and personally.
During my internship I learnt how to work effectively which has helped me to streamline my hours in office and also to get time to concentrate on my personal work.
Upon my return, I got a promotion at my work place which has increased my responsibility.
What plans do you have for the future?
I intend to cascade my skills through teaching at the university and learn from the teaching process. At work I am investing more time in the people I supervise so that I can get the best out of them. Besides, building my career, marriage and family are high on my agenda for the future.