THE Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) remains fully committed to the mainstreaming of technical and vocational training for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria’s drive for local content, industrialisation and sustainable development.
The Executive Secretary of PTDF, Mr Femi Ajayi, made the remark in a speech at the GETENERGY/VTEC CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION in Houston, USA, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
He held that the Nigerian technician and artisan must be given quality training in order to be able to participate effectively in oil and gas projects and ultimately enhance Nigerian Content in the industry.
He identified five constraints which usually hamper the development of an effective technical/ vocational training system in-country,
They are: Lack of well qualified instructors to train students and impact knowledge, inadequate modern training facilities for technical and vocational training and training curricula not in congruence with the requirements and needs of the oil and gas industry.
Others are preference of youths with university degrees as against technical/ vocational qualifications and weak systems that cannot sustain quality technical and vocational training.
To address the constraints, Ajayi said that there was need to adopt the development and implementation of a national strategic framework for technical and vocational training and education.
He also called for improvement of the teaching capacity and capability of vocational education instructors on a regular basis through capacity building in relevant areas.
He recommended that a proper proficiency audit must have been done to ascertain the level of their competence.
Ajayi called for provision of requisite facilities and infrastructure in technical/ vocational institutions to enable them to deliver on their mandate.
“This could be done by providing quality training and ultimately supporting the government in enhancing students’ employability and reducing the level of unemployment in the country.’’
The executive secretary called for revision of the curricula of technical and vocational institutions to meet the 21st century industry demands.
Government, he added, should collaborate and partner with international organisations as well as the private sector to develop technical/vocational training in-country.
Ajayi disclosed that PTDF had developed and executed programmes to entrench technical and vocational training in-country to enhance capacities, capabilities and competencies of Nigerians for the benefit of the industry.
They included the upgrade of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, which provides requisite training in oil and gas technology and produces middle/low level manpower required for oil production for the Nigerian oil and gas industry and the West African region.
The project comprised educational, organisational and infrastructural upgrade.
“The educational and organisational upgrade has been concluded while the infrastructural upgrade is still ongoing and has attained 87 per cent completion.’’
He also commented on the PTDF Post Amnesty Vocational Skill Based Training Programme in which 120 youths were trained between 2012 and 2013.
He said the programme involved various vocational/ hands-on-training such as ICT and Diagnostic/Fault detection on heavy duty equipment/auto-rotary technology.
“There is a plan to train a further 100 youths under the programme this year.’’
“Under the Welders Training and Certification Programme, 500 youths were trained in plate welding and issued with the International Institute of Welding (IIW) certification in the first phase.
“In the second phase, 505 persons were trained on Manual Metal Arc Welding out of which 207 have now progressed to the current plate welding training.
“In the Underwater Welding Training Programme, 11 young Nigerians were trained by PTDF in 2011 at the renowned Underwater Welding Training Institute (INPP), France, to attain the International Institute of Welding certification in underwater welding.
The scribe explained that the Local Welding Programme was emplaced with Nigeria Institute of Welding (NIW) as part of efforts to domesticate the training of artisans and technicians for the oil and gas sector.
“PTDF has been collaborating with NIW to train youths in fillet, plate and pipe-welding.
“So far, 1,750 Nigerians have been trained in welding and other fabrication skills under the PTDF Welders Training and Certification Programme.’’
He stated that the PTDF Technology Enhancement Teaching & Learning Programme was designed to build the competencies of ICT teachers in secondary schools and tertiary institutions in the country.
“PTDF had previously provided ICT centres as part of its institutional upgrade project.
“The programme is aimed at building the ICT proficiencies of the teachers so that the knowledge acquired can subsequently be imparted to their students.
“Three hundred participants (teachers) drawn from over 100 schools attended the programme in-country.’’
He disclosed that Centre for Skills Development and Training was being established in Port Harcourt to provide basic skills required in the oil & gas industry to unemployed youths especially in the oil producing areas.
“Disciplines to be covered include automobile works, basic electrical works, health safety and environment.
“Others are catering, electronics, masonry, seismic survey technology, drilling technology, welding & fabrication etc.
The executive secretary, who said that execution of the project was ongoing, added that PTDF and other stakeholders funded Enhancing the Fabrication Capabilities in Nigeria Project
“It is to address welding/fabrication challenges in-country which is an area that has been identified to have the highest potential for developing local content in the oil and gas industry.
“In the course of the project’s execution, seven fabrication yards at various locations in Nigeria were refurbished to international standards and subsequently commissioned.
“Fabrication Training Centre was also established in-country for capacity building in the area of welding and fabrication.
“The centre is designed to serve as an Authorised Training Body of the International Institute of Welding for the conduct of internationally certified welding and related training programmes,’’ Ajayi added. (NAN)