Students from across the country are set to engage in meaningful discussions on opportunities in the oil and gas sector with the hope of building a local workforce that will take over Guyana’s new oil industry in the future.
Local telecommunications company, GTT is teaming up with the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber to host a new programme aimed at fueling interest and education on issues related to oil and gas.
Through an investment of $24 Million from GTT, secondary school students in Forms Four and Five along with first-year University Students will benefit from introductory teaching sessions from experts in the industry on the opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
The “Fueling Guyana Initiative” was launched last evening. At the launch, Chief Executive Officer at GTT, Damian Blackburn said the company is proud to continue playing its part in Guyana’s development. He said the initiative was easy to support since it will benefit Guyana’s young people in the long term.
“We were delighted when we were given the opportunity to take part in this programme. It is an amazing thing, it is the right thing to do, we are at amazing crossroads in Guyana’s history, the discovery of oil. It needs to flow to everywhere in this country and the only way it will flow to everywhere is if the resources that it brings are given and made available to those who can do amazing things like my Guyanese team can every day” CEO Blackburn said.
He said the flow on income will not happen until some things are put in place and initiatives like the one being supported by GTT reach the country’s future leaders.
“It’s not enough to just think it’s going just happen, you have to go out and do something, you have to go out and talk to the Fifth form students, and to University students about the opportunities that are in their grasp and if we don’t do that, we don’t go and engage, then they won’t know”, he said.
Since the discovery of oil in Guyana more than five years ago, there have been concerns about whether the benefits from the sector will reach the ordinary man.
While many are already benefitting from jobs in the industry, many other jobs go to foreigners because of their experience and education in oil and gas.
Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat lauded the initiative, explaining that it is needed to also support local content development for the industry.
“In order to achieve true local content, we have to build capacity. We need to understand our position where we are today and the fact that we lack capacity in many areas. We lack capacity in our human resources. We lack capacity in our private sector and I mean no disrespect, this is actually encouraging of you to build capacity and start competing regionally and internationally” Minister Bharrat noted
Minister Bharrat also pointed that Guyanese have to get themselves in order to benefit from the oil and gas sector. He said there is only so much that could be done by the government.
“I cannot go to any one of the international oil companies and say that you have to employ 100% Guyanese tomorrow morning. Do we have that skill in Guyana? We don’t. So, we must be realistic and we must recognize that we have a few challenges”
President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge applauded the move and insisted that Guyanese should also push towards the spin-off jobs from the industry.
“The revenues that are coming to the country and the investment that is coming are going to spring all kinds of opportunities and so we need to help the youth to understand what those look like and open the doors and let them into the doors, encourage them to get into education and training because the future of sustainable development in Guyana is the people” Mr. Routledge also expressed.
Starting this month and into the new year, schools from across the country will benefit from the training under the programme.
At the training, students will be provided with information on key sectors in the oil industry and the opportunities that exist in those sectors.
The initiative will be managed by the Guyana Oil and Gas Chambers which is headed by businessman Manniram Prashad.