Uche Cecil Izuora
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) is collaborating with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Total Energies Ltd to transform Government Technical College (GTC), Port Harcourt, Rivers State into a center of excellence for the training of craftsmen who will support activities in the oil and gas industry and the wider economy.
The projects to be executed by SPDC at the school include the construction of 4-units of world-class technical workshops and an information and communication centre and they are in fulfillment of SPDC’s commitment to the NCDMB’s human capital development programmes.
A few weeks ago, Total Energies started the construction of a 25–classroom block, 200–bed students hostel and another technical workshop within the school. In addition, the Board has commenced the upgrade of the Teachers’ Quarters and the Principal’s Official Quarters in the school.
Speaking on Thursday in Port Harcourt, when he performed the groundbreaking for the upgrade projects being executed by SPDC, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote hinted that the construction works will bring back the glorious days of the institution and its students, and hopefully the trainees will lead the charge for the creation of employment for youths and wealth generation for the Nigerian economy.
He explained that the Board places high premium on technical, vocational education and training institutions (TVETs) as they are important in the development of skilled craftsmen urgently required for the delivery of projects in the oil and gas industry and other key sectors of the economy. He added that the availability of skilled and qualified Nigerian craftsmen will reduce the dependence on foreign artisans and further deepen the practice of Nigerian Content.
The NCDMB boss further explained that the Board initiated a pilot study in 2018 across 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.
He noted that the study found that infrastructure and facilities in over 100 schools were in a dilapidated state, the teachers and students poorly trained and motivated, hence a recommendation for immediate upgrade of facilities in vocational schools across the country and retraining of technical teachers.
He noted that “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 and ICT Centers across the country.”
He added that the Board is also carrying out upgrade projects in the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, the University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University and others.
He explained that the Board had included integrated Institutional Strengthening and Upgrade into its Human Capacity Development (HCD) guidelines in view of the demand for an extensive upgrade of technical schools across the country and in keeping with the Nigerian Content Mandate and the Federal Government’s agenda to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
He added that “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.
He commended SPDC for investing in the project, noting that the foremost oil and gas firm remains a consistent and dependable company in the area of Human Capacity Development.
He enjoined SPDC to ensure that all the projects at GTC Port Harcourt are completed in record time and to insist that world-class industrial equipment are installed in the school, so the students can acquire the requisite skills that will make them ready for field operations. He also charged the company to ensure that there is a sustainability and maintenance plan in place to support the workshop, including the provision of vital spare parts for the machines to guarantee that the teachers and instructors are trained to use any equipment that will be installed in the school.
In his remarks, the General Manager, Projects & Engineering, SPDC, Mr. Benno Touw assured that SPDC would continue to support Government’s aspirations to increase Nigerian Content and the participation of Nigerian businesses in the oil and gas industry in line with the Local Content Act.
Also, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Prince Chinedu Mmom represented by the Director, Secondary Education, Ministry of Education, River State, Mrs. Amadi-nwaso Nkechinyere lauded NCDMB and SPDC for the project and assured that the State Government will continue to provide enabling environment to ensure the projects are completed in time.