Kuala Belait - Synergy is a key aspect in the Energy Department at the Prime Minister's Office's currently-in-development National Competency Framework for the Oil and Gas Industry which will work towards ensuring that technical institutions are able to produce graduates who have been trained in ways that are in line with standards set by the industry.
This was the point put across yesterday during a meeting at the Jefri Bolkiah College of Engineering in Kuala Belait between the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awg Hj Mohd Yasmin bin Hj Umar; the Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education and Vice Chancellor of UBD, Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi; Permanent Secretary (Downstream & Power) at the Energy Department, Hj Jamain Hj Julaihi; as well as major players in the Oil and Gas industry and staff from the college.
Also present were the Commander of the Royal Brunei Navy, First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Abdul Halim Hj Mohamad Hanifah; and the Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance, Hjh Ning-Lela Dato Paduka Hj Mohamad, representing Royal Brunei Technical Services.
Addressing the college's personnel during the meeting, the minister said, "We are here because there has been a sort of continuous discussion on the need for us to really look at how we conduct technical training and technical education in Brunei.
"As the Minister of Energy, I want our technical institutions and vocational schools to produce the-right people for the right industry," he continued. "My main mission is to try and make sure that technical education is relevant to the development of the oil and gas industry in Brunei."
He added that, in line with this, the department has hired consultants from Australia who are "currently doing our energy industry competency framework".
Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain said that he shared exactly the same thoughts as the minister, and said, "I think we are in synergy. We are wholeheartedly behind this effort (the national competency framework for oil and gas industry). This is very much about synergy
"We are not really producing what is required by the industry. This has not necessarily got anything to do with how good or bad our seven institutions of technical education institutes are.
"We are living in real time at the moment, meaning that we cannot be static. If you want to progress, if you want to prove that Brunei is worth the 80 plus years of oil and gas that it has produced, then let's work together and show that."
He also mentioned that there appears to be a perception that technical education is second class.
"Technical education is not a second-class education, and hence we are reactively rebranding technical education with the help of the industry," he highlighted.
One notable point put forward yesterday was done so by Hj Salleh Bostaman bin Hj Zainal Abidin, the Deputy Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP).
"Everyone who graduates from this institution and gets a job with BSP has to spend two years doing on-the-job training to unlearn what they have learnt and learn new things," he said.
He explained during the session that this is because much of what is being taught at the college is actually out-dated, and does not meet the current standards of the oil and gas industry.
To this, the minister then addressed the college, saying, "If you don't change, you will end up becoming irrelevant
"To learn and then unlearn is a waste of both time and resources," he said, before adding, "If we work together, we can overcome this problem."
He then mentioned that the Maritime Academy, which both Royal Brunei Technical Services and the Royal Brunei Navy are looking at setting up, will look not only at the technical side, but seafarer's side.
"I want you to make use of and work together with this new academy to help you," he said.
Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain then proceeded to explain that the aforementioned framework is aimed at helping technical education practitioners to ensure that standards meet the requirement of the industry, and to remove any more such problems.
After the meeting session was concluded, a tour was done around various parts of the college.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin