The Jubilee Technical Training Centre (JTTC), which is affiliated to the multiple award winning Takoradi Polytechnic, is bursting with glory as graduates from the centre are making great strides in Ghana's burgeoning oil and gas industry.
Samuel Owusu Fenteng, who is among the first graduates of the centre said: "The centre is beneficial. It gives students the opportunity to maximise their talents as greater attention is focused on practical training than theory".
As you know, Ghana's education system is theoretically based, but JTTC, which is just one year old, exposes students to the technological world, Mr. Owusu Fenteng, who is an Electrical Technician Trainee at MODEC Ghana Limited, operators of the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Kwame Nkrumah, oil ship explained.
Though he holds a Bachelor of Science in Electric Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) before graduating from the centre, he said the centre opened his eyes to new methods of technology in the oil and gas industry.
Apart from helping to bridge the skills gap in the industry, the graduates say working in the hydro-carbon industry is rewarding.
Ghana, which started oil production in commercial quantities from the Jubilee oil fields in 2010, is expected to create employment opportunities and make significant contributions to the national purse.
As a new oil producing country, the Ghanaian government places greater emphasis on local content requirements to ensure that a good number of Ghanaians are employed by the companies.
Hence, the recent passage of the Local Content Law for the oil sector makes it mandatory for job creation through the use of local expertise.
The purpose of these regulations is to promote the maximisation of value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise, goods and services, businesses and financing in the petroleum industry value chain and their retention in the country.
Also to develop local capacities in the petroleum industry value chain through education, skills transfer and expertise development, transfer of technology and know-how and active research and development programmes.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Oil and Gas Service Providers Association (GOGSPA), Nuetey Adzeman, is optimistic that Ghana would achieve 60% of the local content law within the next three years of its implementation in the oil and gas industry.
The much-awaited Petroleum (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulation, 2013 (LI 2204), which took effect in February 2014 seeks to put Ghanaians at the forefront of all petroleum activities and ensure that they benefit from the country's new resource.
Already, the oil companies have generated thousands of jobs for Ghanaians. But the country's continental shelf's oil and gas industry is faced with skills gap problems, an Energy Analyst, Mustapha Iddrisu noted.
JTTC TO RESCUE
To address the skill shortages in the oil and gas industry, the JTTC was established as a means of addressing the lack of hands- on technical training in the country.
In fulfillment of their commitment to building capacity in-country for Ghanaian industry and the growing oil and gas sector, the Jubilee Partners namely Tullow Ghana Limited, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Kosmos Energy, Anadarko Petroleum and Petro SA and the Takoradi Polytechnic inaugurated the ultra-modern technical and vocational training centre at the Takoradi Polytechnic to train middle level manpower in the country.
The JTTC was inaugurated last year by the Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang on behalf of H.E. President John Mahama and it creates an avenue for the manufacturing and industrial sector to have their personnel trained locally in some key areas at a cheaper cost than now.
The facility, a partnership between the Government of Ghana and the Jubilee Partners, cost $6million to build and equip and is expected to help change people's career prospects and shape a larger, skilled workforce in Ghana.
The centre delivers internationally recognised courses in Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation and Process engineering training which will be underpinned by health and safety training, the most important aspect of the oil and gas sector.
The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, assured that the government was determined to ensure the growth of the oil and gas industry and a spread of the revenue from the sector to benefit all Ghanaians.
The former President and General Manager of Tullow Ghana Limited, Mr. Dai Jones, noted the success of the oil industry and "all of our businesses is heavily reliant upon the people that we are able to employ and work with this facility will enable us to build capacity locally, enhance the skills of our workforce and build a longer term sustainable team".
"It is our hope that out of this Centre will emerge the next generation of Ghanaian and African technicians who will become ambassadors for what genuine collaboration can create for the development of Ghana." He added.
The Rector of Takoradi Polytechnic, Rev. Prof. Daniel Adjepong Nyarko said the Polytechnic was determined to make the centre the flagship technical training institution for oil and gas studies in the West African sub-region.
MORE YOUNG GRADUATES TURN HOPE ON JTTC
Following successful completion of the first batch of the centre, many Senior High School and tertiary graduates have expressed interest in the centre's programmes. This is evident in the increase in intake of the centre.
As alluded to by experts in the country's oil and gas industry, if the efforts of the Jubilee Technical Training Centre is being complemented by the various tertiary institutions in the country, Ghanaians within the next decade would control about 50% of the industry.