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Walvis Bay To Receive Multi-Million Dollar Oil And Gas Academy

By:Hertha Ekandjo
An Angolan oil and gas operational solution-providing company, Operatec, has partnered with Namibians in constructing a multi-milliondollar marine and industrial academy at the coastal town of Walvis Bay.
The academy will be setup at an initial cost of about N$9.2 million, making it the fourth of its kind in Africa.
One of the partners, Knowledge Iipinge, said the academy would provide specialised and internationally certified training for local marine personnel in the oil and gas industry.
“What has been happening for the past years, is that most people who have been working in this department, whenever they go offshore they are either sent to South Africa, Angola, or to Europe for training and this is actually for OPITO accredited training, which is an international convention that sets standards for training and certification,” Iipinge explained.
The construction of the academy is set to start in 18 months’ time, but for the time being the training will start in May 2023at a temporary facility.
Iipinge explained that one can study any aquatic course at any institution currently in the country or elsewhere in the world, but what one requires to get into an oil rig is comprehensive technical and safety training which is specifically for the oil and gas industry, which is what the academy will offer.
He said the academy will prepare Namibians for the job market in the oil and gas industry.
“That is actually the gap that we are filling, this industry is the next big thing in the world, so we are actually preparing local people for the job market,”the former Regional Councillor of Walvis Bay Urban Constituency, Iipinge declared.
Moreover, he added that 80% to 90% of people who work in the Namibian oil rigs are not locals but foreigners, because Namibia lacks a number of certified employees who can work in the industry.
Iipinge mentioned that for those in the fishing industry, it is important for them to undergo basic safety training, basic life support, and boat operation training which will also be offered by the institution.
“You also need to have the underwater escape training, and this is the type of training that will be offered,” said Iipinge, the newly appointed Namibia Director of Marketing and Business Development for Operatec Maritime and Industrial Training Centre (OMITC).
In terms of employing local trainers and instructors, he said they will be sending some of their instructors and trainers to Angola and Abu Dhabi for extensive training in order for them to be able to train and instruct those who will enrol at the institution.
He added:”We would bring in the experts who are currently working at the other institutions for skills transfer purposes. Meaning, as we set up an institution, we would be having some of the experienced tutors assisting the instructors and trainers that we would be employing and then eventually have a skills transfer happening. Over a certain period, they would be then going back to their countries and then the Namibians would be running the institution 100%”.
The Mayor of Walvis Bay Trevino Forbes said they as a Town Council welcome the setup of this institution in their town.
“Council took it very well that this kind of development is coming to Walvis Bay, or Namibia, because this type of training is only done elsewhere in Africa, so if we can train our people in our country to do these types of things, they will be job ready,” the Mayor said.
Forbes noted that one of the complaints that his office has been receiving is that some of the local graduates who want to pursue a career in the oil industry always have to go beyond the borders to gain experience in the field.
Meanwhile the Erongo RegionalGovernor Nevile Andre said many people that are trained for these areas often go to South Africa for an upscale in skills, and that this initiative will assist locals be trained here, while there is potential for people from different countries to come and be trained here in Namibia.
“So, it is something that is strengthening the local economy and something that is strengthening the industry itself to bring other people from other countries to be trained in Namibia or in Walvis Bay, in Erongo region,” Nevile said.
“Vessels, be it fishing or other types of vessels, because we do not have the proper qualification of Namibians to either be pilots or working on these vessels, they tend to import from other countries. So now if we Namibians take up these jobs it will surely help with increasing employment in our region,” he said.
“The country recently announced the discovery of oil and this necessitates us to prepare ourselves to be part of the value chain of the oil industry so that we do not need to have other nationals coming to do what we can do ourselves,” the governor concluded.

Hertha Ekandjo

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