Three scholarships for Falkland Islanders at the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) in Trinidad and related to the oil and gas industry are likely to be available within two years and will be overseen by the Training Centre in the Falklands.
A delegation of Falklands residents comprising MLA Ian Hansen, Steve Dent (Invenio, Falkland Islands), FICS Head Teacher Martin Winward and FIG Oil & Gas Program Manager Mike Brough recently attended the annual Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference, a premier Energy Conference in the Caribbean, during which time they were able to examine the potential for Islanders to train at the Trinidad government funded NESC in trades and craft type skills relating to oil industry.
Mr. Winward said they had looked, “at the next steps with regard to what we do not have here and in to developing a link based on that for the future.”
Penguin News asked Mr. Winward who would fund the scholarships, to which he replied that they would be, “supported right from government level, through to I guess ourselves supporting post 16 provisions; it would be through access to Community Development Scheme funds for post 16 education or post 18 education and it would be done in partnerships, so it would be supported from government here, but the actual costs of the courses, the provision, would be met by Trinidad.”
Mr Dent was impressed with the NESC apprenticeship schemes and said he saw them as, “a really good fit for the Falklands; it is a two year program for 18 plus,” and this fitted well with young people currently in the vocational stream, working in the yard or already undertaking offshore work.
These people could go to Trinidad to, “re-skill into drilling, trades and some of the black skills that are required in the Falklands in the future. So it won’t really be something that would fit into this current exploration round but may fit in to further work in the future.”
This would, “allow us to have some more Shaun Jaffray types who have been away, got some offshore experience under their belt and come back and we’ll have more and more Falkland Islanders able to either interact offshore or provide more skilled labor onshore.”
He suggested that the trained persons could also come back, “and we can use them as trainers,” in 2019 and beyond, “when we get to production.”
He explained that the apprenticeship schemes were broad and specific trades suitable to the Falklands industry might comprise skills around drilling, automotive trades, electronic skills (repair and engineering) and even ROV work.
Mr. Dent cautioned though that at the same time they did not want to branch too far away from the UK system. As well as their high quality offering in terms of training the other major advantage to a relationship with a Trinidad institution is that courses are far cheaper than the equivalent courses in the UK or the USA.
Mr. Dent added that there were also shorter courses available, for example project management and IVQ courses that Invenio might be able to sell locally and assist those individuals in obtaining 50 per cent funding from the Falkland Islands.
Speaking to Penguin News earlier in the week about the conference itself, MLA Hansen said Mr Brough’s presentation to the conference on where the Falklands currently are with renewable energy was well received and created much interest. “Unfortunately the Argentine ambassador was tasked to make a token protest against us attending the conference, but this obtained no support from any attendees at all. In fact, a deafening silence followed the usual pathetic statement,” said MLA Hansen
Also during the Conference, Mr Dent signed a business agreement between Invenio and Hummingbird Helicopter Services Ltd (HHSL). (Penguin News).-