The Petroleum Commission (PC) has secured an arrangement with Baker Hughes/GE to train five Ghanaians to become internationally accredited and certified specialised welders to enable them serve in the oil and gas sector.
The one- year training programme, which is estimated at a cost of $250,000 is part of efforts to support the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity (AOGC) programme.
The programme is aimed at building the capacity of the Ghanaian youth by equipping them with the relevant skills required for the upstream petroleum industry.
The trainees who would undergo a course in stainless steel welding, at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Canada, would equip the beneficiaries on their return, to be able to train many more Ghanaians to support the oil industry.
The students, drawn from the Regional Maritime University, Takoradi Technical Institute, Kikam Technical Institute and the Jubilee Technical Institute were selected based on their academic track record, recommendations from the institutions as well as interviews conducted by representatives from the Localisation, Local Content and AOGC Departments at the PC.
They would benefit from a package, that caters for their tuition, visa, accommodation and transportation.
The agreement was in response to a request made by Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, for Baker Hughes to support Ghana’s local content development efforts and the AOGCP when a delegation from the Company paid a courtesy call on the Commission last September.
Mr Faibille Jnr said the efforts would help reduce the Expatriate-Ghanaian ratio in the upstream petroleum industry.
At the meeting, the company assured the PC of its commitment to support the AOGC programme by hinting of an already existing training of about 100 Ghanaian students at an online digital academy at a cost of $6,000 each.
Mr Faibille Jnr said with the path taken to invest in training Ghanaian welders, Baker Hughes would register its name in the annals of the Ghanaian upstream petroleum local content and localisation efforts.
In a related development, Mr Faibille, together with other government officials have undertaken a familiarisation visit of the NAIT premises in Edmonton, Canada, on the side-lines of the just ended Global Petroleum Show.
NAIT, North America's largest welding training centre was selected based on its capacity accreditation, technical expertise and experience in providing welders with the skills required to participate in the oil and gas industry.
Dr Paul Frempong, Consultant of the AOGC Project at the PC, noted that many of the welders in Ghana are unable to participate in the industry because they did not hold the certifications required by the industry.
"In order to meet international standards and with the reciprocity agreement with the US, the trained welders will receive two certifications from the Canadian Bureau of Welding and the American Welding Society. These two certifications are one of several welding certifications needed to participate in the oil and gas industry" Dr. Frempong stated.
On his part, Mr. Ignacio Garcia, Snr. Account Manager at NAIT, said he was optimistic that the welders would be better equipped to undertake welding projects after completing the programme.
"We have undertaken similar projects for about 40 companies and the results have always been positive. Rest assured, your welders are in safe hands and they would surely return to Ghana with the required skills to undertake welding projects in your industry," Mr. Garcia noted.