BusinessDay

Nigerian content board ignites technical resurgence in Nigerian technical schools

...TotalEnergies, other IOCs pick technical colleges for upgrading ...NCDMB initiates needs, capacity studies in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has launched a scheme to ignite technical resurgence in technical schools around Nigeria.

The aim, the board said, is to make Nigerian able to take over the future of oil/gas industry from the scratch. Total Energies Nigeria Limited and other international oil corporations (IOCs) have queued into the initiative and have started rebuilding and equipping some of the technical schools to world class status.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, unveiled the scheme in Port Harcourt where the Government Technical College (GTC) at Okujagu area of the Rivers State capital witnessed groundbreaking of construction of three projects: technical workshop, hostel for 200, and 24-classroom study centre.

Speaking, the executive secretary, who was represented by Ama Ikuru, GM Capacity Building Division, said the board has placed a lot of premium on human capital development and the role that technical, vocational education, and training (TVET) can play in the development of skilled craftsmen that are urgently required for the delivery of projects in the oil and gas industry and for the growth of Nigerian Content in the industry.

He said availability of skilled and qualified Nigerian craftsmen will reduce dependence on foreign artisans and reduce capital flight.

The board said the search was launched in 2018 when it initiated a pilot study covering three states, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers State, to examine the state of technical, vocational education and training and unravel the cause of the shortage of qualified Nigerian artisans needed for the execution of projects in the oil and gas industry.

The study, he said, found the decrepit state of infrastructure and facilities in over 100 schools that were covered by the survey. “The teachers were poorly trained and not motivated and the equipment in most of the schools were obsolete. The immediate consequence was the high number of candidates that were being trained under the human capital training programmes organized by the Board. The study recommended the immediate upgrade of facilities in vocational schools across the country and retraining of technical teachers.”

He said wiithin the limitation of the resources at the disposal of the Board, the Board initiated the upgrade of many vocational schools. “To date, the Board has successfully completed the upgrade of Government Technical College, Amoli in Enugu State, Government Technical College, Abak in Akwa Ibom State, Government Craft Development Centre in Bassambiri, Bayelsa State, the University of Ibadan vocational Centre, and work is ongoing in many other vocational schools across the country, including the upgrade of teachers’ quarters at the Government Technical College Port Harcourt.

“The Board recently completed the ultra-modern vocational centre of excellence at Omagwa, Port Harcourt which was initiated by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF). This centre will be commissioned soon, thanks to ANOH Gas Processing Company (AGPC) Limited, who funded and executed the completion of the project as directed by the Board under the CDI programme.

Read also:How to make technical education thrive in Nigeria

The board also said it is carrying out upgrade projects in Nigerian universities, including the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, the delivery of new projects at the University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, and the planning of new projects in other universities are being progressed.

The Executive Secretary said: “Considering the amount of upgrade required across the country and the need to add value and create the opportunity for lifelong learning for youths, consistent with the Nigerian Content Mandate and the Federal Government agenda to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, the Board integrated institutional strengthening and upgrade into the Human capital development guideline. The guideline sets aside 60 percent of the HCD commitment of major projects in the oil and gas industry for the upgrade and provision of facilities in institutions that train the workforce for the oil and gas industry.

“It is on the basis of this guideline that Total Energies Limited submitted and got approval for the HCD plan of the Ikike Project, in which she committed to constructing, equipping, and handing over the Mechanical Workshop, 25 classroom block and a modern hostel accommodation block for 200 students. Let me at this juncture thank the management of Total Energies for demonstrating faith and commitment to the betterment of Nigeria. Let me also congratulate the management of Total for achieving the first oil of the Ikike project.”

The board said the foundation they laid is one of the many building foundations that will be laid in vocational schools across the country. “Outside the projects being handled by Total Energies Ltd, I can authoritatively inform you that Shell Petroleum Development Company has also started the construction of four workshops and an ultra-modern ICT center in this school.

“The NCDMB has also started the upgrade of teachers’ quarters in the school. Taken together, the objective is to transform GTC to a modern center of excellence for the training of skilled craftsmen who will support activities in the oil and gas industry and the economy at large. It is expected the trainees from this center will be in the forefront of leading the charge to end poverty in all forms and create employment for youths in the country.”

He said TotalEnergies has demonstrated that indeed they were a true leader of Nigerian Content Development, and when many other operators are divesting from fields in Nigeria, TotalEnergies has continued to invest in Nigeria and achieving great strides in Nigerian Content.

He gave the company four-point charge on how to proceed with the GTC project.

Laying the first block of the multi-million naira project, the managing director of TotalEnergies, Mike Sangster, who was represented by his deputy (JV Asset), Guillaume Dulout, said the infrastructure development project consists of a technical workshop, a 200-bed hostel, and a 25-block classroom. He said it is in fulfillment of TotalEnergies commitment to the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) priority on Human Capital Development (HCD).

He said the human capital development project was an aspect of the Ikike project (an offshore oil project) as required by the NCDMB to produce those that would fill the technical and engineering gaps in the industry.

He said: “We are embarking on the projects under our IKIKE offshore development project. The HCD projects are designed to upgrade the standard of the infrastructure in the school, create a good learning atmosphere, improve the standard of living for the students as well as equip the vocational students with life skills. It represents our full alignment with the initiatives of the NCDMB Board to develop technical expertise and professionalism in the Nigerian oil & gas sector.

“As expected, the success recorded by Ikike demonstrates team work at its best. This is what TotalEnergies and our partners want to replicate as we deepen our collaboration with NCDMB in the area of technical education, with the ground-breaking today.”

Total gave generous credits to Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, for his leadership and commitment to local content development in Nigeria. He also commended the Rivers State Government for what he called expedited approvals received for the launch of this project.

Speaking, the Commissioner of Education, the professor, Prince Chinedu Mmom, who represented the state governor, said the Rivers State government is doing a lot in the education sector. In fact the government pays WAEC/NECO fees for all students studying in the state.

He went on to state that many schools were abandoned years ago and the present administration is carrying on the renovation scheme, all to demonstrate the passion the Governor has for education. “We will provide the enabling environment for the completion of this project. My office will set up a committee to monitor this project to completion to ensure timeliness and quality.”

The mayor of Port Harcourt who was represented by the Secretary of the Council, Chile Uhuru, commended TotalEnergies for the laudable project.

Others who spoke urged the school to aim to earn money from the facilities in the project and the machines to be installed there, and that contractors should please endeavour to build the centre to become the best in Nigeria.

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