ExxonMobil and the Centre for Local Business Development teamed up on Tuesday August 15, to host twelve of the sixteen students currently participating in the Ministry of Natural Resources Apprenticeship programme.
The students were given a tour to ExxonMobil’s office, the offshore rig and the Centre for Local Business which held its first open house for local manufacturers.
“These folks seem to have the drive to succeed in the future” remarked Rod Henson, ExxonMobil’s Country Manager. According to Henson the students showed great interest. “They were not afraid to get out there and touch the equipment, try to understand a bit of what’s going on, they talked about how a lot of the mechanical part of it.”
He explained that “it has been said that our industry is nothing more that glorified plumbing, there is a little technology involved but essentially that is kind of it. Many of the students are interested in plumbing, and petroleum engineering.
“We are really happy to do this because these young people are the future for Guyana”, the Country Manager added.
Saskia Daniels, one of the student participants said prior to the visit she did not have much information about the offshore rig, or even the Business Centre. However, despite having a preference for forestry, she felt it was an honour be part of such a programme, and appreciated all that she has learnt regarding the emerging oil and gas sector.
“I have never been so excited; I have been to places that I would have never thought I would have gone,” enthused Zion McPherson. For her, the most exciting part of the programme has been the trip to Iwokrama, Region Eight.
Fatima Karen only began the Apprenticeship programme yesterday because she was out of the country, participating in an innovation in science and engineering project. She hopes to someday be a petroleum engineer and looks forward to the rest of the programme.
Essequibo resident, 15-year-old Noel Sukhai, said after hearing of the programme, he was overwhelmed mainly because “Guyana is such a beautiful country and there are not many opportunities for youths to explore and see the real Guyana not only the city”.
He said that although he is from Region Two, it was quite a “breathtaking” experience travelling to Iwokrama, and exploring the oil and gas industry.
Most of his life he wanted to become a doctor, however after learning about the oil and gas industry, he plans to pursue a career in petroleum engineering.
An additional part of the students’ package was a tour of the Centre for Local Business Development which afforded them the opportunity to interact with manufacturers, and members of the Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA), who were themselves benefitting from an open house held by the Centre.
Members were educated on the functions of the Centre which included registering businesses in the supplier registration portal, informing members of upcoming Offshore Oil and Gas Literacy training sessions, and registering members for courses.
The Centre which opened last July, is funded by Exxon Mobil and managed by DAI Global. It provides a space for local firms to learn about opportunities in the oil and gas industry, strengthen their competitiveness and prepare them to supply the oil and gas industry with various services.
Project Director of the Centre and DAI Representative Patrick Henry explained the Centre’s Offshore Oil and Gas Literacy courses, which are made up of four sessions: Introduction to the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry; the Local Content in Guyana’s Emerging Offshore Petroleum Sector; Basics of Health Safety and the Environment and Introduction to the Procurement for local suppliers.
The centre will offer basic training through its partners the Institute for Private Enterprise Development (IPED), EMPRETEC, BrainStreet and Food Management Services.
ExxonMobil country manager pointed out that “Engaging the business associations is a critical step to ensure Guyanese businesses are included in the opportunities that the oil and gas sector brings to Guyana both directly and indirectly”.
Through the Centre Exxon Mobil will work with existing suppliers, potential new suppliers and other stakeholders to develop local companies and encourage an increasingly competitive industrial base.
GMSA Shyam Nokta said that they were extremely pleased to be part of the Centre, while noting that members from across seven sub sectors will benefit from the open house. The seven sub sectors include Agro processing, services, forestry, wood products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and fast food.
Nokta explained that the members will not only benefit from training for the oil and gas sector, but in building medium and small-scale businesses. (DPI)