Ahead of a one-year specialised welding training programme for five Ghanaians in the upstream petroleum industry, the CEO of Petroleum Commission, together with other government officials have undertaken a familiarisation visit of the technical institution identified to train the welders over the period.
The specialised welding programme which cost about $250,000 and sponsored by Baker Hughes/GE is expected to be undertaken at the North Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, Canada.
The two organisations selected NAIT, North America's largest welding training centre based on its capacity accreditation, technical expertise and experience in providing welders with the skills required to participate in the oil and gas industry.
Consultant for the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity Building (AOGC) Project at the Commission, Dr. Paul Frempong noted that many of the welders in Ghana are unable to participate in the industry because they do 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." Explained Dr. Frempong.
On his part, Senior Account Manager at NAIT, Mr. Ignacio Garcia is optimistic that the welders will 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 & they will surely return to Ghana with the required skills to undertake welding projects in your industry," noted Mr. Garcia.
The five welding candidates were selected from four technical institutions: The Regional Maritime University, Takoradi Technical Institute, Kikam Technical Institute and the Jubilee Technical Institute. The selection criteria were based on the students' academic track record, recommendations from the institutions as well as interviews conducted by representatives from the Localisation, Local Content and AOGC Departments at the Commission.
The students are expected to start the programme in September this year. On their return in September 2020, the trained welders are expected to undertake Training of Trainers programme in order to transfer skills learned with their colleague welders in Ghana.
The familiarisation visit was undertaken on the sidelines of the just-ended Global Petroleum Show held in Calgary, Canada.
The Commission is optimistic that its active participation at the event will encourage Canadian oil and gas companies to explore investment opportunities in Ghana's upstream petroleum industry.