The Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Poku-Agyemang on Friday commissioned a $6 million technical training centre for the Takoradi Polytechnic to train Ghanaian students in Oil/Gas and other technical vocations.
The training centre, built by the Oil Jubilee Partners, would start operating in September this year and would help reduce training abroad in the subject matter.
The centre, named “Jubilee Technical Training Centre,” was co-sponsored by the Oil Jubilee Partners namely Tullow Ghana Limited, Anadarko WCTP Company, Kosmos Energy, Ghana National Petroleum Company and Sabre Oil/Gas Holding Limited.
The centre is the first in West Africa to offer diploma accredited qualifications to support industry and commerce in Ghana.
Commissioning it, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang noted that the time has come for technical and vocational education and training to be given the needed recognition by African governments.
This must to be done through adequate budgetary allocations and the provision of modern infrastructure as well as teaching and learning materials.
She said a World Bank study, carried out in 2002, asserted that, nearly all training systems in sub-Saharan Africa suffer diminishing government funding, which is virtually ad hoc and arbitrary.
The Education Minister however expressed government’s determination to change that phenomenon and pledged to upgrade the Polytechnics into Technical Universities, which is expected to start this year.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang noted that the objective would pave way for academic progression for highly qualified technical and vocational students who hitherto have no well-defined route for further academic studies.
She was optimistic that the move would ensure that the nation produces high-calibre technical and managerial human resource base, to respond to the rapid growth of the nation.
She was enthused that the polytechnics make local technology useful to all, saying, it was in line with government’s objective.
The Chief Executive officers (CEO) of the Oil Jubilee Partners, who spoke in turns said after the discovery of oil in commercial quantities off Cape Three Points in the Western Region it was realized that the local people lacked skilled labour to work in the oil industry.
To address the deficiency, they came together and sponsored the construction of the training centre to build the capacity of the youth in various technical and vocational fields to enable them to gain employment in the oil industry.
The Centre is opened to students or workers who wish to upgrade their skills in hands-on technical training in areas as Instrumentation, Mechanical, Electrical, Process Engineering as well as health and safety awareness.
The CEOs were hopeful that the capacity building in Oil/Gas locally was not only cost effective but would allow many Ghanaians acquire knowledge to make them employable in the industry and satisfy Ghana’s local content policy in the sector.
Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum assured that the necessary measures have been put in place to address safety environment, and security to ensure that Ghana’s oil becomes a blessing.
He said Cabinet’s passage of the Petroleum Management Act which is to be submitted to Parliament together with vital measures is an indication that government is determined to ensure the growth of the Oil/Gas industry whose revenue would be enjoyed by all Ghanaians.
In a welcoming address, Mr Alfred Ekow Gyan, Deputy Western Regional Minister said oil/gas industry by its nature generates long-term benefits and can have significant positive impact on the socio-economic development of local communities.
It is therefore imperative that a strong external environment is created to deliver to host communities the very things that add value to the people.
The Rector of the Takoradi Polytechnic, Reverend Daniel A. Nyarko appealed to the traditional rulers and opinion leaders to collaborate with the authorities to enroll and train their youth, which he noted, would discourage them from indulging in unproductive ventures that mar their lives.