By Sarah Byrne

A GROUP of 34 Papua New Guinea nationals will take part in a junior oil and gas technician scholarship program commencing in July at the South Pacific Employment Institute (SPEI), in conjunction with Site Group International and Kumul Petroleum Academy.

Over 2,000 applications were received from all around PNG of which a total of 34 PNG nationals have been selected for the first intake.

Participants will receive real ‘hands on’ experience of working and performing on a safe live gas process plant to be located at the SPEI training facility at Idubada.

Speaking with PNG Resources, Site Group general manager Stuart Service said the training program is critical for the development of the PNG national workforce.

“It is important to industry here in PNG to nationalise workforce competencies so the next wave of development can be led and managed by Papua New Guinea nationals,” Mr Service said.

Throughout the training, the participants will experience ‘Reality without Risk’, which Mr Service explained is the experience of operating a real world safe live processing plant – also including training in health, safety and environment and high risk activities.

As a result, the trainees will have received comprehensive training on all fundamental elements of operating a gas plant, making them highly employable in PNG, Mr Service said.

The 15 month competence based training covers all aspects of technician programs for operating a gas plant, including production technicians, electrical technicians, process technicians and mechanical technicians.

To make the training as relevant as possible, Mr Service said the group has been working with their partners to build the company’s preferred working environments into the processing plant.

As a result, the training environment will have the same brands of control technology, mechanical technology and other equipment so that the trainees will experience a smooth transition into employment, having previously used similar systems in training.

Mr Service said the group has been working closely with industry to ensure job ready outcomes for the trainees.

All successful trainees will receive a world class certification from the Australian Skills Quality Authority, City and Guilds Advanced Diploma in Oil and Gas Operations.

“The goal of the program is to see all trainees in gainful employment once the training is completed,” Mr Service added.

Construction of the gas processing plant has commenced and is being fabricated at the Site Group’s facility in the Philippines before being transported and assembled at the SPEI facility ready for operation by Januar y 2017.

Kumul Petroleum managing director Wapu Sonk stressed the importance of the program for the PNG community.

“The 15 month competence based technician training program will play a major role in PNG’s National Workforce Development Program and will deliver international standards required in the oil, gas and energy industry,” Mr Sonk said.