The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) decision to look inward in the implementation of its capacity building efforts will entail the utilization of the local institutions and facilities being developed by the Fund. Some of these include the upgrade projects in 26 departments offering oil and gas related courses in 26 Nigerian Universities, some Centres of Excellence where the Fund also made substantial interventions, and the special institutional projects for the training of high, middle and low level manpower in the oil and gas industry being established by PTDF.
One of such facilities is the Centre for Skills Development and Training, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, to provide basic skills required in the oil and gas industry. The idea for the establishment of the Centre followed the outcome of a skills audit on the indigenous participation of Nigerians in semi-skilled and non-skilled jobs in the oil and gas industry conducted in 2010. It was observed that expatriates were still being employed by international oil companies operating in Nigeria for such vocational jobs. As a result of the findings from the study, the Fund decided to establish an industry oriented Skills Development and Training Centre in oil and gas.
The objectives of the Centre include; to encourage the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas sector having regard to the Nigerian Content Policy of Government; to train and develop skills in the occupational areas that exist in the oil and gas sector; to liaise with the industry to upgrade the skills of their workforce for improved productivity; to undertake studies to establish the skills requirements of the industry and develop job specifications for purposes of skills training; to empower the youth through skills acquisition aimed at job creation and entrepreneurship development; to design and implement booster courses based on industry’s perceived needs; and to certify and issue trainees with recognised competency certificate on successful completion of the programme.
The components of the Centre for Skills Development and Training being developed by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, include the heavy scale industrial building, comprising of a welding and fabrication workshop, electrical workshop, heavy duty equipment repair workshop, automobile workshop, construction and masonry workshop. Others are the high scale industrial building hosting the polymers and by-products workshop, an administrative building, auditorium, library, hostels and staff quarters.
In view of the importance of the Centre for Skills Development and Training, Port-Harcourt, in realising the new direction of the Fund to localise its capacity building training programmes, the Executive Secretary, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau, visited the project site to assess the progress of work on the project. Stakeholders and all those connected with the implementation of the project, contractors, consultants, project managers and community protection groups, were present to receive and dialogue with the Executive Secretary to chart a course for the early completion of the different components of the project next year. He was conducted round the facility by the project Manager, Mansur Ahmadu Kurfi. Most of the building projects particularly the residential quarters have attained practical completion stage. Others are at various stages of completion and are generally assessed to have reached between 70 to 90 percent completion. In addition some of the equipment required to run the Centre are already in the site and are awaiting installation.
At a meeting with the contractors and consultants, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau said his visit is to enable him understand the issues and challenges faced by them in completing the project with a view to agreeing on a mutually beneficial arrangement that will facilitate the early completion of the project. “Since we assumed office, we have gone through extensive process of review of the programmes and the projects that we are undertaking, at the end of it all we decided to focus more attention, more resources on a few critical projects, we have quite a lot, we have quite many, but we decided to say look given the situation in the country, we all know what our country is going through so we have to cut costs, we have to find ways of prioritizing, but the good news for this meeting is that this particular facility is one of the major priority areas and to that extent we decided to say, let’s come and sit down here with you and understand what the issues are. I have been extensively briefed about some of the challenges and some of the milestones that have been registered in this facility and I can go right away and tell you that the PTDF as a Fund has decided to start looking inward in terms of its capacity building programme efforts and this facility is one of the two critical facilities that we are going to utilize or slated to perform that role, so you can understand why we need to come here to sit down with you, to understand what the issues are and chart a way forward, so that we reach some mutually beneficial arrangement for all of us”.
Kalu Otisi Esq.
Head, Press and External Relations
December 09, 2016