COVID-19: NCDMB Charges OGTAN, others on New Strategies

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The Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) and other companies handling training in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry have been advised to reposition themselves and redesign their training modules to enable them overcome the challenges created by the Coronavirus pandemic and crash of crude oil price.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote gave the advice during a webinar organised by OGTAN recently with a theme “Challenges, Opportunities, and New Realities for O&G Trainers.”

Wabote warned that the twin challenge of COVID-19 pandemic and low price of crude oil might remain for a considerable time and would negative impact oil and gas training as most face to face programmes will no longer hold. He further warned that there will be delayed learning interventions, loss of businesses, revenue and jobs.

According to the ES, most oil and gas training would likely take place in virtual classrooms and would require virtual machines, simulators and dongles.

He noted that such training would demand a high cost of set up, but hinted that the operational cost would be lower over time and learning costs would become cheaper.

Wabote also said 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 this regime to include “expanded spaces for ongoing training, reduced number of students per classroom, increased cost of instructors, face masks, hand sanitizers, hand gloves, soaps and water.”

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

Continuing, he said, 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 also warned there would be shortage of training opportunities because the oil industry was suffering from no new projects and crash in oil price, hence no 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.

For ongoing training programmes, Wabote advised OGTAN members to implement COVID- 19 safety measures, redesign time table and number of trainees per class, provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and redesign On the Job Trainings (OJT) and labouratory events.

For medium term plans, he charged training firms “to redesign hands-on classes and leverage technology, move majority of theoretical trainings online, retrain faculties for virtual training and provide infrastructure.”

Other strategies are to expand the market place, advertise online, get international students and include trainings required in the other sectors of the economy in their offerings. He also recommended for training companies to consider partnerships, consider 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 will 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 will continue the payment of trainees’ allowances and will provide for data allowances for participants in new trainings.

While confirming that the Board will also provide PPE for trainees on Direct Intervention trainings, he said majority of such trainings will go online, even as first consideration will be given to Nigerian Trainers.

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 NCDMB boss said the Board would also expect value for money and positive benchmarks with similar trainings offered by global competitors.

He added that training opportunities will be driven by categorisation of OGTAN members and there must be assurance of safety for trainees during face to face events, laboratory instructions, field visits and OJT.

Peace Obi


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