A welding instructor practices at Kikam Tech 23 Feb 2017 ©2017 Kate Shaw / WRCF;

Ministry of Energy’s Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project improves capacity of local welding trainers with the Western Region Coastal Foundation and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Kikam, W/R. Friday 3 March 2017 - Nine instructors from three local technical institutes and three Ghana Gas employees have today graduated from a welding course using state of the art equipment provided by the World Bank. The intent is that with this training, instructors will be better equipped to prepare their students for employment in the region’s burgeoning oil, gas, and allied industries.

The three-week training programme was funded by the Ministry of Petroleum’s Oil and Gas Capacity Building project and utilised $6 million USD worth of equipment, financed by the World Bank for Kikam Technical Institute, Takoradi Technical Institute and the Regional Maritime University in Tema. The training developed the instructors’ capacity and enabled them to use the new equipment. They return to the classroom better equipped to make the best possible use of the increased teaching resources.

Matthew Armah, WRCF CEO explains, “This training demonstrates that it is possible to deliver high quality training in a public technical institution in Ghana, as opposed to sending employees abroad or inviting consultants to do the training in-house. We are thankful for this opportunity from the Ministry, and hope this will encourage government, oil and gas, mining and fabrication companies to step forward to help us deliver the training Ghana desperately needs if we are to translate extractive industries into employment opportunities for the people of the Western Region and the country as a whole. With sustained investment by government and the support of the extractive companies themselves, local technical institutes will become more sustainable and the TVET sector can begin delivering the high quality graduates companies are looking to employ.”

Instructors practice their welding skills at a course organised by WRCF in Feburary 2017. ©2017 Kate Shaw / WRCF

Instructors practice their welding skills at a course organised by WRCF in Feburary 2017. ©2017 Kate Shaw / WRCF

This instructor course is one of the first testing grounds for development of a Ghanaian national competency based training. The Council for Technical and Vocational Education Training (COTVET), the government body created to coordinate technical and vocational education, has been developing the new curriculum since 2012. This course is one of the first steps in educating a highly skilled local workforce; it is competency based and designed to enable the assessment of the skill level of participants in welding, as well as to introduce them to multiple processes. At a ceremony on Friday, the students all received a certificate of participation from COTVET and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, an accredited Canadian Polytechnic.

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE

Esi Quainoo, a teacher at Takoradi Technical Institute, takes part in a welding course organised by WRCF February 2017. ©2017 Kate Shaw / WRCF;

Esi Quainoo, a teacher at Takoradi Technical Institute, takes part in a welding course organised by WRCF February 2017.

Among the students taking part in the course was Esi Quainoo, a teacher at Takoradi Technical Institute. “In the traditional [curriculum] that we are using,” she explained, “the practical aspect is not much. We are technical people - we are not supposed to be doing theory, theory, theory. We are supposed to do practical work.”

“The companies normally take people and train them before they give them a job. It shouldn’t be so. We are supposed to train our students well, so that when they go to the workplace, they just move ahead and do what they are supposed to do,” Esi concludes.

“Esi and the other students have been very engaged over the past three weeks, and are making good progress,” commented Ron Nickel, the Course Instructor and Welding Specialist. Mr. Nickel has been teaching at Saskatchewan Polytechnic and in Ghana for the past 17 years.

“I’ve been training for mining companies in Ghana over the past few years, but always for employees of companies, never addressing the root cause of the problems. The combination of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s experience in developing employee driven skill training systems, and WRCF’s contacts with oil and gas companies was the catalyst we needed to start addressing some of the fundamental problems in the TVET system in Ghana. With additional support from other donors and industry, we’ll be able to show a way forward and prove that it’s possible to deliver high quality training in a public institution in Ghana,” Mr Nickel said.

Mr Armah added, “Through WRCF’s dialogue platform, we know that unemployment and skills training are issues really close to people’s hearts, and are the concerns most commonly cited after general infrastructure in the coastal districts of the Western Region. This is an important area of work for us, which we see as of strategic importance to improving economic prospects in the region.”

WRCF and Saskatchewan Polytechnic are working with local mining, oil and gas companies to design further courses and develop a sustainable and replicable model for local training institutes using the new equipment. For more information about supporting the programme, joining a course or customised training courses for your company, please contact WRCF’s Resource Mobilisation Manager at kamil_mohammed@dai.com.

Joyce , Welding instructor at Regional Maritime University, Tema, Ghana. ©2017 Kate Shaw / WRCF

Joyce, Welding instructor at Regional Maritime University, Tema, Ghana. ©2017 Kate Shaw / WRCF

For more information, pictures, case studies and interviews, please contact: Oswald Felli, WRCF Communications Manager, +233 20 784 5941, oswald_felli@dai.com

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

The Western Region Coastal Foundation (www.wrcfghana.org) is an innovative programme that encourages an effective dialogue between oil, gas, and power (OGP) companies, other extractive industry actors, local communities, and the government in six districts in the Western Region of Ghana, to identify and resolve issues facing these communities. WRCF leverages stakeholder financial and in-kind contributions and corporate social investments through a market systems development approach to address stability and socio-economic development concerns of communities.

The 12 students were made up of three welding instructors from each of the technical institutes which have been provided with the new equipment, and three employees from Ghana Gas’ operations department.

The equipment was funded through the World Bank’s Oil and Gas Capacity Building Project, and delivered welding, hydraulics, oil and gas simulators, and electrics equipment worth $6 million USD to the three institutes.

A needs assessment of Ghana’s TVET sector was conducted by Saskatchewan Polytechnic (www.saskpolytech.ca) in March 2016 for Global Affairs Canada, and identified four main weaknesses: instructor capacity, access to consumables for hand-on practice, access to equipment, and standards. The full assessment Needs Assessment of the TVET System in Ghana as it relates to the Skill Gaps that Exist in the Extractive Sector can be provided upon request.

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