Mohammed Yankey responded to a call to become the chief traditional priest of the people of Punpuni in the Western Region, but he has a business acumen which he still wants to put to good use.
Mr Yankey was trained in the highly skilled sand blasting and sand spraying by a mining company where he worked for about four years.
Sandblasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material at high-velocity to clean or etch a surface. Sand used to be the most commonly used material, but since the lung disease silicosis is caused by extended inhalation of the dust created by sand, other materials are now used in its place.
The Chief Priest has since registered his own company and is ready to utilise his skills to obtain jobs when oil companies set up in the Western Region, particularly in the Ahanta West District.
Mohammed is only one out of many young men and women of the Western Region who are eager to gain employment in an oil-related job, since the oil and gas resource is closer to their area and service providers have started incursions into the Ahanta West District in particular.
The oil and gas activities of the area have been heightened by the proposed siting of petroleum terminal at Punpuni by the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Ltd (BOST).
The BOST Petroleum Terminal will have an initial capacity to receive, store and deliver about 150 million litres of refined petroleum product (equivalent to three weeks of national consumption) and 20,000 cubic metres of LPG.
The initial phase will comprise the following facilities the construction of storage tanks for refined petroleum products (150,000 cubic metres of various tank sizes) and ancillary facilities for storage of refined petroleum products and also have facilities for blending and additive injection.
The Oman Sofo (Traditional Priest), told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS during a visit to the town that he used to work at Tarkwa but had to vacate the job because of the call to serve my people.
“But with this project now close to me, I am hoping to resume work again,” the traditional priest said.
Prior to setting up Genstar Engineering Works, Mr Yankey worked for eight years in the mines, working with known companies such as Liebherr, Mantrac and Gold Fields that have helped to sharpen his skills, which he believes could match international standards.
The Traditional Priest said some of the youth had the skills and others did not have, saying with the support of companies and the government they could impart the knowledge to their peers who did not have the skills.
Mr Yankey has been advising the youth of the town to learn trade and equip themselves with some skills in anticipation of any job that would avail itself.
His pieces of advice are already yielding fruits as the youth are looking for skills and learning trade that can guarantee them a place in an oil related job.
Solomon Cudjoe is one such young man who has decided to learn how to operate earth-moving machines and also drive heavy-duty trucks. He has started acquiring the skills as an apprentice at Takoradi, the Western Regional capital.
“I am hoping to complete my apprenticeship in driving heavy-duty trucks so that I can get some work opportunities such as driving a tanker in my own backyard,” Mr Cudjoe told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at Punpuni.
The two young menfurther said, “we are united in welcoming them. So far we have no work in the communities and we support the location of the BOST Terminal in our community.”
They added that the youth had also resolved to ensure that there was no litigation on the land and that although it was land that could await their future generations, “we believe this project is coming to a virtually virgin community and it is better for the future generation to offer the land to them now.”
According to the Managing Director of BOST, Dr Yaw Akoto, the US$200-million terminal will create 500 new permanent jobs and the company was ready to identify people from the community and train them to acquire employable skills.
“BOST will work closely with the community to design programmes to develop the skills of the people of the area for some of the high-end jobs such as oil terminal management and logistics. We will also support schools in the area to improve on the quality of education right from the basic level, Dr Akoto said.
The District Chief Executive for Ahanta West, Mr Joseph Dofoyena, said “as a start, we are going to liaise with Harvard Marine Institute, which has been duly accredited by the National Accreditation Board to offer oil-related training and we will work with them to train our people so they can also get work to do.”