Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat disclosed that his government has every intention of establishing an Oil and Gas Training Institute to ensure citizens are not relegated to being just “the help” in their own industry.
The Minister made this statement during a recent interview with the Department of Public Information. Bharrat said that the creation of this institute will ensure Guyanese are not simply cleaners, maids, and cooks for the oil sector. He said, “We want our people to be managers, to be the technical people, to be the petroleum engineers, the reservoir engineers.” The Minister added that this has to be worked into the Local Content Policy.
The Minister’s comments in this regard come on the heels of a similar recommendation made by Associate Professor, Dr. Terrence Blackman. During an interview on a local radio station, the Diaspora member said the government needs to have a clear plan about the jobs it wants Guyanese to have and how they would be prepared or trained to take over.
Dr. Blackman said, “I think the thing you don’t want to get caught in with the local content is to say, you know, we have these sort of local content goals on paper, but then they’re really not goals in the sense that you know you’re not creating the individuals with the capacity to actually participate in these jobs in a meaningful way. And then you end up with just companies where our young people get to be the cooks, they get to be, you know, the help.”
The Associate Professor added, “…They don’t get to be the engineers because we didn’t have a very explicit plan around that says how many jobs are available on the rig, what are the nature of the jobs that are available on the rig, what’s the demand for petroleum engineers, how many people are we going to need for doing welding, and I think that that attention to detail is something that I think you have to be aware of.”
The Associate Professor said this is how Guyana has to approach the matter of local content; to not be enamored by the current targets, but to be engulfed by the desire to figure out how young Guyanese can be equipped with the skills to participate in a meaningful way.