…based on needs assessment done on TVET institutionsA prevailing concern is that lack of capacity will see locals losing out on technical jobs arising from the oil and gas sector. But armed with a needs assessment report, the Energy Department is looking to fix that.Energy Department Head,Dr Mark BynoeThis was explained at a press conference held on Friday by the Department at the Ministry of the Presidency. According to Head of the Department, Dr Mark Bynoe, they are working in collaboration with the Council for Technical and Vocational Education Training (CTVET) and its Director, Floyd Scott.“We’ve been working very closely with the Council and those entities that have been coming trying to set up parallel structures; we’ve been encouraging them to set up partnerships with the TVET institutions,” he explained.Dr Bynoe related that they are considering initiating two pilot programmes within the TVET institutions. He also referenced the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and the University of Guyana, which are also building capacity for the sector.“The University of Guyana has recently launched their own petroleum programme. We are also working with the Board of Industrial Training. And one must recall the Public Service Ministry still provides opportunities for Guyana to build its capacity as we move towards the oil and gas sector,” Dr Bynoe stated.In 2016, the Government had signed an agreement that would see the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) contributing US$14 million towards TVET institutions. Another agreement to develop TVET worth US$83,000 was signed between Guyana and the Organisation of American States (OAS) last year.This year, the University of Guyana also launched its Masters and Associate of Science in Petroleum Engineering programmes.TVETIn March of this year, CTVET Director Scott had revealed at a forum in Albouystown that Guyana was missing hundreds of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) skills from its technical and vocational curriculums.CTVET Director Floyd Scott“There is currently in the region of Occupational Health and Safety standards, 250 skills. In Guyana, within our TVET institutions, we only have 17 occupational skills being taught. So, if there is a need for a skill outside of that 17, the foreigners will come,” he had said.Scott also revealed that during a recent meeting of the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT), he learnt that they were now issuing skilled certificates to categories of workers.“The agriculture workers, security workers and domestic household… What was interesting is what the skilled certificates mean, it’s a work permit to travel throughout the Caricom Region. Guyanese cannot get it…because that certification is not afforded in Guyana,” Scott noted.“With oil and gas, you will see tourism. You will see a lot of hotels. You will see the need for people to be day-care workers. And the foreigners aren’t going to come and ask you to work for them, because you look good. They want to know you are capable of doing the job.”Local content and what it will do for Guyana has been a burning question since the announcement of the oil discovery in the Stabroek Block. After Exxon first tempered expectations by saying that few job opportunities will be created by oil, it has since said that it would help with local content delivery.One measure it has taken is to set up a Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD). A major complaint has been that Guyanese are losing out to foreigners when it comes to local content, especially as the Local Content Policy is still to take effect.