The Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute in Gelephu is preparing to cater to this demand

Employment: The institute that is expected to meet the human resource requirements of the hydropower sector is up and functioning.

Between 2015 and 2020, at least 6,500 people are expected to be required by the hydropower sector, according to calculations by the Druk Green Power Corporation and Bhutan Power Corporation.

This was revealed by Labour Minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo during the consecration ceremony of the Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute (JWPTI) in Dekiling, Sarpang yesterday.

The minister said that to achieve the vision of generating half of 20,000MW power by 2020, much labour would be required.

The four on-going hydropower projects require a large number of skilled people, he said, adding that more jobs are expected to be created when the other planned hydropower projects are implemented.

The minister said that while there is huge demand for skilled labour in hydropower, the current situation reveals a lack of appropriate skills and trainings to cater to the labour needs of the hydropower sector. “This has created huge demand for foreign workers,” he said. “In order to close the gap, labour ministry is ensuring hydropower projects to have clear human resource plans to facilitate specific skills development and employment of trained manpower.”

Hydropower projects have the capacity to employ a large number of people during not only the construction phase, but during operations and maintenance as well, lyonpo added.

The Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute currently has 240 trainees undergoing vocational trainings in masonry, plumbing, mechanical and carpentry.

The institute was initially planned as one of the Technical Training Institutes in the country.

However considering the enormous demand for human resources from the hydropower sector the institute was converted into a power training institute.

Besides the hydropower sector, trainees from JWPTI will be able to find jobs in other energy sectors such as wind, solar and biogas, said the minister. “A grand scheme of job prospects is lying ahead for the graduates of this institute,” he said.

Dekiling, where the institute is located falls under one of the Special Economic Zones identified by the government to promote industrialisation in the country. A dozen other industries are expected to be established in the surrounding areas. JWPTI will have direct access to other institutes in the locality in terms of placing its trainees for the on-job-trainings and also in finding jobs in some of them.

For instance, located a few metres away is the Bhutan Hydropower Services Ltd, a company that provides repair and maintenance services to all hydropower plants in the country. During his visit to the company last year, the labour minister was told that the company has jobs for skilled Bhutanese in hydropower training.

While the institute was already inaugurated by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee during his state visit in November 2014, construction was completed in mid-2015. Operations at the institute began in August last year.

Constructed on 20 acres, the Government of India funded the project.

The consecration ceremony was attended by the deputy chief of mission of the Indian embassy in Bhutan, Bishwadip Dey and counselor Sheri Subrata Das.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang