COVID-19 Will Impact Oil Sector Manpower Training Negatively -Wabote

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The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote, has said current disruption in the oil and gas industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on manpower training in the sector.

Speaking during a webinar organised by the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) tagged “Challenges, Opportunities, and New Realities for Oil and Gas Trainers”, Wabote advised companies in the industry to reposition and redesign their training modules to overcome the challenges created by the crash in crude oil prices.

He warned that the twin challenges of the covid-19 pandemic and low price of crude oil might remain for a considerable time, stressing that most face to face programmes will no longer hold.

The NCDMB boss projected that there would be delayed learning interventions, loss of businesses, revenue and jobs, predicting that most oil and gas trainings would likely take place in virtual classrooms and would require virtual machines, simulators and dongles.

“Such training would demand high cost of set up, but the operational cost would be lower over time and learning costs would become cheaper,” he said.
Wabote argued that virtual learning models might lead to lower assimilation by the trainees and reduced profits for the companies at the onset.

He listed critical requirements for oil and gas training in the new regime as expanded spaces for ongoing trainings, reduced number of students per classroom, increased cost of instructors, face masks, hand sanitisers, hand gloves, soaps and water.

According to him, the negative impact of the prevailing circumstance on OGTAN members would include stoppage and cancellation of training programmes, delay in payments, reduction in the number or trainees and higher cost of administering programmes.

“Other effects might include abandonment of physical classrooms despite huge investments already made, need for new capitalisation to acquire infrastructure, absence of high speed internet and need for retraining of faculties” he said.

He also warned that there would be shortage of training opportunities because the oil industry was suffering from the absence of new projects, crash in oil price, which will lead to low funding for trainings, competitive rivalry and lack of certainty in training opportunities.

Speaking further Wabote said the new regime of virtual training would attract new and global competitors, some with advanced technologies. He advised local players to explore collaborations, international accreditations, quality, cost and differentiation.

He recommended for training companies to consider partnerships, jointly establishing a global virtual university with hubs around the world and mergers and acquisition of smaller players.
Dwelling on interventions from the NCDMB, Wabote hinted that the board would provide tablets or laptops in future virtual trainings and would consider a special funding for the acquisition of training technology.

He confirmed that a special e-learning centre would be established in the board’s specialised centre in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and a new trainees’ handbook and new human capacity development guideline will be launched.
He assured that NCDMB would continue the payment of trainees’ allowances and will provide data allowances for participants in new training.

“On their part, training companies would be expected to provide world class quality of learning modules and ensure that the participants acquire the right competences and certifications upon the completion of their programmes.
“The board would also expect value for money and positive benchmarks with similar trainings offered by global competitors” he noted.

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