Jigme Wangchuck Power Training Institute (JWPTI) was consecrated in Dekiling, Sarpang by Labour and Human Resources Minister, Nyeema Sangay Tshempo, accompanied by President of the Republic of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, during his state visit to Bhutan, in November 2014.
JWPTI was initially planned as one of the technical training institutes in the country. However, the great demand for human resources from the hydropower sector gave strong impetus to convert the institute into a power training institute which will provide training required to meet the hydropower skills requirement.
Lyonpo said, “This institute would not have taken its present shape and existence had it not been for the unwavering and generous assistance of the Government of India. Today, I am happy to consecrate this converted institute into the power training institute which will immensely benefit our hydropower sector.”
Lyonpo also said that hydropower is the epitome of ‘development friendship’ between India and Bhutan. Thus, he said that the Government of India’s support to establish the training institute, which is now converted into power training institute, is symbolic of the deepening friendship between the two nations.
Hydropower projects can employ huge number of people during their construction phase and, most importantly, for their operations and maintenance phase.
JWPTI institute was completed in the mid of 2015 and became operational since August last year. The institute is manned by expert faculty and able management team led by its Principal, Lobzang Dorji.
Currently, there are 240 trainees undergoing vocational training in masonry, plumbing, mechanical and carpentry. Besides, the institute also offers customized courses for various organizations.
“The location of this training institute could not be more suitable than where it stands today. This area falls under one of the Special Economic Zones identified by our government to promote industrialization in our country,” Lyonpo added.
He also said that there will be dozens of industries located in the area, and as a result, the institute will have direct access to these industries, in terms of placing its trainees for the On-Job-Trainings (OJT) and also find jobs in some of them.
Citing one example, Lyonpo said, “There is Bhutan Hydropower Services Ltd (BHSL) located a few kilometers away from here, which is the company that provides repair and maintenance services to all our hydropower plants.”
Bhutan aspires to bind half of its hydropower generation capacity of 20,000 MW by 2020. This ambitious goal calls for huge requirement of manpower. Lyonpo said that about four hydropower projects are underway which will increase the demand for good number of skilled people.
“More jobs will be created when other planned hydropower projects are also implemented,” he added. While there is good demand for skilled labor in hydropower, the current situation reveals the lack of appropriate skills and training to provide to the needs of the hydropower sector. This has created huge demand for foreign workers as well.
In order to close this gap, he said, “Our ministry is ensuring hydropower projects to have clear HR plans to facilitate specific skills development and employment of trained manpower.”
Two hydropower agencies, Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) responsible for generation of power, and Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) which ensures transmission of power, combined will need a total of 6,500 skilled manpower between 2015 and 2020.
“Apart from employment in hydropower sector, technical graduates of power from this institute can also find jobs in other energy generation sectors, like wind, solar and biogas. Our government is exploring these alternative sources of power generation which will also require skilled people to function effectively,” Lyonpo said.
In the long run, there is hope that the institute will evolve and achieve regional excellence in hydropower skills training, attracting trainees from outside Bhutan and produce skilled Bhutanese who will contribute in the country’s development.