The challenge for graduates entering the oil and gas industry

At a time of uncertainty within the oil and gas industry, graduates are facing a growing challenge to successfully enter the sector. The challenge now is not attracting further talent into the industry but how to ensure current graduates are given a pathway into successful employment.

Graduates in Oil and Gas

The common scenario is oil and gas companies are looking to employ candidates with a certain calibre of skill sets that are usually achieved through direct industry experience. The issue is that whilst there are training opportunities within certain fields, many graduates entering the industry will not have the sufficient experience to fulfil these demands.

Graduates have the intellectual qualities but many are finding they lack the required industry experience which suggests the current graduate to employment ‘pathway’ is potentially lacking the required training system.

This issue has been felt worldwide and nations are continuing to look at ways of improving the current system. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has been looking closely at their current training system. Fuelled by high unemployment rates within graduates has provoked a series of recommendations to improve the so called ‘journey’ of a graduate into full time employment.

Drilling down into ‘work experience’ what is highlighted by hiring companies as key importance is familiarity with the industry ethics. A major reason why oil and gas companies tend to hire expatriates to man their projects in Nigeria is not solely due to technical competence but also due to their industry ethics.

Strong evidence of working on global projects is valid proof an individual has gained strong knowledge of the industry’s code of conduct, business ethics, procedures, processes and safety standards.

This can be taken even further and apply these processes and standards to specific companies. Individual companies have their own operational methods and standards, particularly the larger multinational companies operating worldwide.

It makes sense – a large multinational will deliver standards to unify their system’s global operations, allowing a worker from Asia to come and work in Europe with a short learning process required.

Unified standards means large firms such as Shell and Chevron will generally prefer to hire a worker with previous Shell or Chevron experience as they are well trained with this specific company and their related procedures.

Taking this on board The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has been recommended for leading companies to collaborate and develop a training program under a joint venture scheme. The ultimate aim of this training program is to equip graduates with the necessary skills to work successfully within these joint venture companies.

The training would involve team building, company policies, procedures and job skills specific to each company enabling graduates to assimilate successfully into these selected companies. Training would be certified therefore providing a recognised qualification allowing for transition within the industry.

Oil and Gas Graduates in Nigeria

These projects would create value, increased revenue, sector growth and much needed job opportunities for our graduates.

At a time when the industry is struggling and jobs are being shed we need to be developing a strategy for the future and train a society to prepare for the future of the industry. Collaboration with major companies within oil and gas could potentially improve the pathway for graduates entering the oil and gas industry. 

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