Ministry of Education, Guyana

Sunday, 20 January 2019 10:15

Youths drawn into oil and gas sector

Registrar of the University of Guyana (UG), Dr Nigel Gravesande, has affirmed that young people are eager to get involved in the emerging oil and gas sector, with a large number of persons already applying for UG’s new petroleum engineering programme.

“As of ten minutes to eight [Saturday morning], after four days of opening of the new programme for the Associate’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering, we had 74 applications,” Gravesande told a large gathering of young people at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.

According to him, this just shows that young people are interested in the field and are willing to equip themselves to get involved.

The registrar however acknowledged that the country is not without its challenges, and one of these includes the lack of expertise in the new industry. In light of this, the University sought to introduce two new programmes from January 2019: an Associate’s Degree in Science (Petroleum Engineering) and a Master’s Degree in Science (Petroleum Engineering).

These courses will be offered in conjunction with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).

Few young people raised concerns of foreigners dominating the oil and gas sector at the youth forum held on Saturday. They also questioned what specific measures are being put in place to ensure that locals, and young people, will be able to benefit from this 20190121 8

“We hope that over time, because this is a process not an event, that we will develop local content and local capacity,” the registrar said. “We believe that every Guyanese has a stake in this and therefore corporate Guyana and civic society will have to complement efforts of the government and tertiary institutions themselves and ensuring that at the end of the day there are perfect results.”

Member of the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) council, Floyd Scott, also told the young people that it is not just about having experts alone, but the “intricacies” of the sector must be considered too. And these require money, partnership and stewardship to develop.

Gravesande however opined that the emerging oil and gas sector is just a “little tickle” in the transformation of the Guyanese economy.

“The transformation of the Guyanese society of and economy can only happen if we move to a stage of structural adjustment – that will bring discipline in our lives, that will speak and against all and every form of injustice; that will seek to condemn all forms of abuse; that will require us in our discipline to speak out against all and every form of corruption… to bring a society that is just and one that will bring blessings for every single person in society,” he said.

Adding to his sentiments was Director of the Department of the Environment, Dr. Mark Bynoe, who stressed that persons do not need to study petroleum engineering, or alike, to work in and benefit from the oil and gas industry. In fact, he contended that all jobs can be streamlined into the various sections of the sector.

“Training, skill building and certification are necessary,” he said however.

To augment the local capacity of youths for the sector, Bynoe noted that his department has been engaging with the Ministry of Education to promote greater learning and awareness.

“Where curriculum amendments will be required, we will start having that,” he said, while adding that the department has been engaging the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) as well, because this body is also responsible for curriculum development.

But the department is also engaging in more immediate efforts to equip young people in the sector.

“[We want to start] mentorship/ apprenticeship programmes, where our young people can have attachments with the department as they begin to build-up their own expertise going forward,” Bynoe highlighted.

This is expected to begin shortly and will allow young people to understand the inner workings of the department, and by extension the sector, as they garner skills to become involved in the sector.

The other measure is an upcoming poster competition that will require young people to create a logo for the department.


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