| Azaraimy HH |
IT WAS a proud moment for a young cohort of welders last night as they received their certification from the American Welding Society (AWS).
These pioneering graduates from Syarikat Pakar Bersatu (PTB), an official member of AWS, are the first ones among the up to 50,000 skilled workers and professionals Brunei hopes to produce to ensure a sustainable energy industry to support the country’s continued prosperity, said US Ambassador Daniel Shields, who was the guest of honour during the certificate presentation ceremony.
PTB, a registered training organisation, held its inaugural certificate awards ceremony for the first cohort of welders who completed their sixth-month technical training programme at Putera Banquet Hall, Freshco in Batu Satu.
PTB is Brunei’s first-ever educational institution member affiliated with AWS, the world’s leading welding standards authority, and welders who qualify from there are certified as internationally- qualified professionals.
The six-month technical training programme is the second half of the Industrial Skills Qualification (ISQ) programme in welder programme. The ISQ programme is a pilot project under the auspices of Energy Industry Competency Framework initiated by the Energy Department under the Prime Minister’s Office (EDPMO) and the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) under the Ministry of Education.
Four ISQ programmes were launched in 2014 including welding, riggers, marker-fitter and scaffolding. A total of 267 students enrolled in the ISQ programmes in which 244 passed (91 per cent pass rate).
The certificates were handed over by Daniel Shields. The US Ambassador, in his keynote addressed that AWS, with 60,000 members globally, is leading the world in supporting welding education and technology development.
Daniel Shields said that skilled welders are in high demand – it doesn’t matter if it is building bridges or drilling for oil. Welders are going to be needed as long as the world needs energy, infrastructure and defence products. Welding is needed from the bottom of the ocean to outer space and everywhere in between.
The ambassador expressed his appreciation for the six women who graduated.
“As the proud father of an ambitious daughter, I make it a point to tell her that no job is out of reach. So I am pleased and impressed, when I see qualified women that prove my words to be true.”
Daniel Shields also took the opportunity to say that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the modern era of bilateral diplomatic relations between the United States of America and Brunei Darussalam.
“Through examples such as PTB’s affiliation with American Welding Society, the United States takes pride in contributing to the Brunei Energy Department and the Ministry of Education’s Industry Competency Framework initiative – a benchmark for Bruneians to acquire skills for the oil and gas industry”, he said.
The ambassador expressed optimism that relations will continue to grow even stronger in all areas, especially in technical and vocational education.
At the event, PTB director, Pengiran Hishamuddin Alli bin Pengiran Jaya Indera Pengiran Haji Mokhtar Puteh, said the company’s vision is to give back to the society through developing competent and qualified professionals for the energy industry.
He noted that in the first cohort, 27 welders were awarded with the 3G Welder Qualification Test (WQT) and 24 attained their 6G Welder Qualification Test, and they are registered as Certified Welders from the American Welding Society. The welders are currently employed in various local energy industry companies.
He was also pleased to announce the company’s collaboration with Subnet Services and AWS Accredited Testing Facility based in Manila, the Philippines, for providing testing and certification of AWS welders through Subnet Services Brunei branch, which will be launched shortly.
With this collaboration, PTB will be able to provide the training services required for any AWS welders to upgrade their skills, and Subnet Services Brunei will be able to provide the testing and certification services required to ensure that they are recognised internationally as Certified AWS Welders.
Dr Hajah Mona Yati binti Dato Seri Laila Jasa Haji Md Kassim, the Principal of PTB, explained that the training programme is in line with the Ministry of Education’s National Entrepreneurship Agenda which aims to embed entrepreneurship across all levels of education – from primary education and upwards.
In PTB, the welders were exposed to entrepreneurship via workshops conducted on financial planning by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) and business planning by Livewire. This is aligned with the company’s vision to produce professional entrepreneurs who may one day set up business endeavours to promote the local business development in Brunei.
The training undertaken by the welders focused on developing their technical and professional competencies. The trainees were given HSE (health, security and environment) and soft skills development training which included entrepreneurship, motivation, creativity, presentation skills, leadership, professionalism and team work.
Islamic teachings were also emphasised during the course.