| Danial Norjidi |
THE Oil and Gas Sector Job Fair 2014 officially came to a close yesterday, with preliminary statistics showing that more than 7,000 jobseekers registered, out of which almost 3,400 are currently unemployed.
With over 2,000 jobs on offer, preliminary statistics from the Job Fair showed that 7,006 people had registered.
One staggering number from this total is that of the registrants who are unemployed, which amounts to 3,378 people.
Out of these 3,378 unemployed jobseekers, 1,145 have secondary level education as their highest qualification, while 83 have primary level qualification.
“This is not a Job Fair that was held just for the sake of having a Job Fair. It gives us an opportunity to attain important data. We have to look at this data and generate a policy that actually will manage some of this.”
This was said yesterday by Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, while speaking to the Borneo Bulletin in an interview on the sidelines of the Job Fair.
In response to the number of unemployed people, particularly whose highest qualifi-cations are secondary level, the Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) is now working towards setting up a constant, continuous “virtual job fair” online, through which people can register via a one-stop location.
The proposed “one-stop centre” will cater to jobseekers, offering them a way to register online “365 days a year”.
As he explained, there is an urgent need to provide employment opportunities for those who are not academically inclined. This is why the Energy Industry Competency Framework (EICF) is so important.
Under the EICF are vocational and technical training programmes aimed at people with qualifications of Year 9, GCE ‘O’ Levels as well as HND and above, so as to help equip them with necessary skills to meet the requirements of the energy industry.
The current capacity of the EICF programmes may be 500, he said, asserting that they are going to look at how this capacity can be increased even further.
“We are going to fast track phase 2 of the EICF programme implementation,” he said, noting that by April there will be additional Industrial Skills Qualification (ISQ) programmes for the professions of blaster/painter, crane operator, forklift operator, prime mover/trailer driver, rigid/heavy vehicle driver, rig crew and CWI technician.
“The EDPMO, Ministry of Education and the industry will focus on this,” he said. “We have high hopes for the EICF. We want to develop it even more. Even maybe develop it again with some of the courses we have not implemented yet.”
In addition to the unemployed jobseekers with only secondary level qualifications, 205 are postgraduate degree holders, 597 are degree holders, 447 HND/Advance Diploma holders, 831 have vocational qualifications and 70 have professional certificates.
With regard to this, the minister touched on the National Energy Graduate Apprenticeship Scheme (NEGAS), one of the flagship schemes under the EICF which targets unemployed degree and HND graduates.
As many young graduates have been unsuccessful in securing employment due to a lack of experience, NEGAS is designed to provide a conducive environment in which unemployed and inexperienced graduates can become apprentices, learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills in a real working environment.
At the end of the scheme, participants are assessed for full-time employment with prospective employers.
“The capacity we have now for NEGAS is 100. That is the realistic capacity, without putting a lot of pressure on the companies.”
He highlighted that the industry has gone above and beyond, showcasing a steadfast commitment towards recruiting more locals.
“The companies have already gone beyond their capacities,” he said. “You must realise the reality of how much the industry can absorb as well.
“This is why we need to fast track all the investment on downstream to create jobs,” he said. “We also need to fast track our FDIs (foreign direct investments). This is very important. We have also put a lot of emphasis on the economic activities in the country.
“We’ll never stop. We will go all out on this,” he affirmed. “But please understand, we are already stretching the industry to its maximum. The industry has already done beyond what it can.”
The minister also spoke on the financial institutions who took part in the Job Fair, saying that Takaful Brunei, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, Baiduri Bank and Standard Chartered Bank have all shown that they are committed in supporting the vision for more employment and providing finance to the industry.
Adding on, the minister said that there will be another Oil and Gas Sector Job Fair in the future.