ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY graduates from diverse technical fields have been admitted to undergo technical skills training in furtherance of government’s Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity (AOGC) programme.
The AOGC programme which is spearheaded by the Petroleum Commission, aims to develop the requisite technical skills for the country’s upstream oil & gas and other extractive industries, and also serves as a major boost for the country’s draft localization policy.
The beneficiaries would be trained at the Takoradi Technical University (TTU), at an estimated cost of one million dollars.
The AOGC programme was established in 2017 with the prime intention of enhancing the capacity of Ghanaians to enable them access opportunities in the country’s oil sector.
Areas of study
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at the orientation session for the beneficiaries, the Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Mr Egbert Faibille Jnr, said at the end of the six-month training, the 150 Ghanaian youth would have acquired internationally recognised City & Guilds certifications.
The trainees would train as process technicians, mechanical technicians, instrumentation, and electrical technicians among others relevant to the extractive industry.
According to the Chief Executive, “The beneficiaries upon completion would be able to under-study expatriates who are currently in the upstream industry in the country. Over a period they will be able to take over from the expatriates after gaining practical experiences on the FPSOs and other platforms moored offshore.”
The high number of expatriates in the country’s upstream sector, Mr Faibille Jnr said, would gradually fade away with time under the draft localisation policy that the Petroleum Commission has implemented.
To underscore the relevance of the AOGC programme, Mr Faibille Jnr said “the project is highly sustainable – the technology and the training transfer fees under the petroleum agreements is at hand, and when more funds flow in, and with support from industry we will train more.”
“Currently, we are talking about a million dollars to train them, an estimated cost of $7,500 per trainee, as well as costs of other training logistics, accommodation, stipend for the trainees and charges by TTU for the use of the facility,” he said.
He said after the current 150 beneficiaries, an additional 50 graduates would be trained next year and would be accommodated within the Commission’s budget cycle. “Therefore, after next year, cumulatively about 200 Ghanaian technicians would have been trained and be made industry-ready.”
When this training programme is completed, it will represent the first time such a number of skilled Ghanaian youth will be churned out with international certifications towards building a strong Ghana presence in the global industry.
“The good thing about this skills development is that, at any point in time, we have a critical mass of 200 Ghanaian internationally certified industry-ready skills,” he said.
The relevance of the skills being offered, he explained, is such that beneficiaries may access jobs as expatriates in other neighbouring countries such as Nigeria, Senegal, and Equatorial Guinea among others.
The Manager of the (AOGC) programme at the Petroleum Commission, Mr Mustapha Hameed, said the flagship programme for the oil industry would address a critical skills deficit of the country.
The programme would unearth the opportunities for Ghanaians at the mid and low level technicians in the oil and gas industry. “The truth is that through these efforts, we will be able to localise the job roles that are hitherto occupied by expatriates.”
Mr Hameed said one important thing about the training is that after the training and certification, “we will create a database to enable the Commission connect the beneficiaries to job roles in the oil and gas industry when they become available.”
“Let us not forget that the level of skills we are impacting have cross industry application which means that they can apply these skills in Manufacturing, Processing, Construction, Automobile, Railway etc,” he said.
Mr Hameed said already, five young Ghanaians have undergone training in offshore (undersea) stainless steel welding at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Canada.
After a year of one-year training, the American Welding Society, the Canadian Welding Bureaus, the National Association of Corrosion Engineers and the American Society of Non-Destructing Testing awarded them international certificates.
The Centre Manager of the Jubilee Technical Training Centre (JTTC), Prof. John Bentil, said Takoradi Technical University is ready to take up the challenge of providing the perfect ambiance for the up scaling of the knowledge and skills of the next generation of technicians to drive the country’s growing oil and gas industry.
JTTC & TTU
The JTTC and the TTU environment has all the requirement to meet the training needs of the beneficiaries “the training he said would see the trainees undergoing 20 per cent theory and the remaining 80 per cent practical – again the calibre of trainees selected already have the needed foundation in higher national diploma and first degrees in relevant fields.
Some of the beneficiaries comprising 130 males and 20 females say the AOGC programme is a priceless opportunity that would propel them to the next stage.
Ms Elfreda Naa Adoley Tagoe said after the completion of KNUST in 2018, she has been home since and the training provides the opportunity to up-skill in process engineering. “Let me say after this I can venture into others aside from oil and gas.”
Another beneficiary Ms Emelia Nyumuteye said they would do everything possible to set the pace and ensure focus of the project is achieved.
The objectives of the AOGC programme is to ensure the creation of jobs and professional integration pathways and facilitate capacity building of educational as well as training institutions.
The AOGC programme would help minimize the cost of training, localize training, improve quality of technical education and empower local companies to actively participate in the oil and gas industry with Ghanaians with skills in welding, pipe fitting, fabrication, installation, process, mechanical and electrical engineering and encourage female participation in the industry.