13,000 energy sector job opportunities on the horizon

Hakim Hayat

The Ministry of Energy’s Manpower Outlook 2020-2025 will see the maximisation of job opportunities in the energy sector, where 13,000 job opportunities are expected to be open in the sector between 2020 and 2025, said Minister of Energy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Mohd Hussein at the 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday.

He was responding to a query by LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Mohamed bin Pengiran Haji Osman @Othman regarding efforts made by the ministry to ensure that jobs in the energy sector are filled up with local manpower.

The Minister of Energy explained that Manpower Outlook 2020-2025 is in line with the fifth strategic objective of his ministry – Highly Skilled Local Human Capital in the Energy Sector – where he said they are committed to increasing the number of highly-skilled locals at the management level in the sector.

He said the strategy’s objective will be accomplished through three initiatives – facilitating and regulating the recruitment of locals through the Bruneianisation and Local Business Development (LBD) Directives; enforcing the adherence to succession planning programmes; and boosting the skills and capacity of locals through cooperation with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and registered training organisations.

He shared that one platform to support the initiative is the establishment of the Manpower Industry Steering Committee (MISC) under the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) for further coordination with industries and the government: “Through MISC, initial discussions were made to expand the skills training programmes for locals and in boosting the number of skilled locals in identified areas. We are constantly exploring any other skilled areas with less locals involved in them.”

Yang Berhormat Pengiran Haji Mohamed also asked about the progress of local employment initiatives in two major foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the country – the oil refinery and petrochemical plant operated by Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd in Pulau Muara Besar and the Brunei Fertilizer Industries (BFI) in Sungai Liang Industrial Park – and how the ministry plans to sustain the number of locals working in the companies.

The minister, in his reply, said that a Manpower Localisation Taskforce was established last April to maximise local job opportunities where potential training programmes were identified and offered to locals.

“In line with the number of graduates that will be generated in the training programme, an implementation agreement from the operator of the project will underline target of recruiting locals as part of the company’s commitment,” he said, adding that his ministry is continuously working with JobCentre Brunei to identify the supply of talent pools and in job-matching coordination.

He further shared that since Hengyi began operations in November 2019, they have reached the 40-per-cent target of employing locals, with 667 working there as of December 2020.

For BFI, the minister shared that the plant is expected to begin operating in the third quarter of this year. He revealed that as of January 2021, BFI has 363 employed, of which 230 (63 per cent) are locals, including 160 local trainees who concluded technical training in Malaysia.

He also disclosed that BFI has allocated a five-year local recruitment planning plan, where the number of locals in the company will increase to over 80 per cent by 2025.

In achieving the target, the minister said that the Bruneianisation and LBD Directives requires a rate of five-per-cent increase in local recruitment annually, until the target of 90 per cent in a company.

“The development of these directives are always monitored and the target is one of the main components in the companies human resource planning, including Hengyi and BFI. This yearly target is also absorbed in the companies’ Key Performance Indicator (KPI),” he added.