Participants at an Oil and Gas Career Fair in Accra have agreed that for Ghana to take ownership of the fledgling oil and gas industry, the country would have to invest massively in building the capacity of its citizens.
Various speakers underscored the need for existing training institutions to be revamped and where necessary new ones put up for the training of the teeming number of young Ghanaians who are seeking to make a career out of the oil and gas industry.
Dr. Paul Frimpong, Director of Petroleum at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, admitted that the quantum of local participation as well as the extent to which local people can participate in the oil and gas sector is limited in respect to technology, finance and human resources.
“The onus, then, is on the nation to adequately and holistically empower its indigenous people through the formulation of good policies to facilitate a progressive involvement of the people, and that is why an event such as this is very important,” he said.
A lot of anxious young people turned up at the career fair, a good number of whom expressed excitement when the Dean of International Programmes at the Takoradi Polytechnic, Mathew Gyan, disclosed that the Jubilee Technical Training Centre is about 99% complete.
Funded by the Jubilee partners at a cost of about US$4.5million, the centre is to be the flagship facility for training the youth in two critical areas for the oil and gas industry; namely, processing engineering and instrumentation and control.
Dr. Paul Frimpong indicated that government is doing all in its power to ensure that citizens gain from the oil and gas sector. The Local Content Policy, he said, is expected to drive the sustainable development of the sector and win for Ghanaians a controlling stake.
Since the discovery of oil in 2007, expectations have been high regarding the financial gains likely to accrue to the country. A lot of young people have also been nursing a dream of working in the sector.
Kofi Esson, Chief of Staff at Tullow Oil Ghana, told attendees of the career fair that they should not only be looking at courses in the mainstream oil industry. Ghana, he said, is yet to have what it can call an oil industry, and that there are so many ancillary courses students can take and still work in the oil and gas sector.
At Tullow Oil, he said, they have accountants, communication experts, and human resource managers among others.
Aside from supporting establishment of the Jubilee Training Centre, he said Tullow has instituted a scholarship scheme aimed at supporting Ghanaian students to pursue higher education in UK universities. This, year, he said, fifty scholarship positions are up for the taking.
The company, he added, is supporting the setting-up of a completely new faculty on Oil and Gas at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, as well as Petroleum management courses at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)
The Oil and Gas Career Fair 2013 was put together by the Ghana Oil Club, Business World Magazine and Hired Capital.