The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has advised companies handling trainings in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to reposition themselves.

According to a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by Mr Obinna Ezeobi, Supervisor, Media and Publicity, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, gave the advice while speaking recently at a webinar.

Wabote urged the companies to redesign their training modules in order to overcome the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic and crash of crude oil price.

According to him, the webinar, organised by the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) had the theme: “Challenges, Opportunities and New Realities for O&G Trainers’’.

Wabote warned that the twin challenge of COVID-19 pandemic and low price of crude oil might remained for a considerable time.

He noted that oil and gas training would be negatively impacted because most face to face programmes would no longer hold and there would be delayed learning interventions, loss of businesses, revenue and jobs.

The executive secretary said that most oil and gas trainings would likely take place in virtual classrooms and would require virtual machines, simulators and dongles.

He added that such trainings would demand high cost of set up but the operational cost would be lower over time and learning costs would become cheaper.

Wabote said that virtual learning models might lead to lower assimilation by the trainees and reduced profits for the companies at the onset.

He listed critical requirements for oil and gas training in this regime to include, expanded spaces for ongoing trainings, reduced number of students per classroom, increased cost of instructors, face masks, hand sanitisers, hand gloves, soaps and water.

Wabote identified the negative impact of the prevailing circumstance on OGTAN members to include stoppage and cancellation of training programmes, delay in payments, reduction in the number or trainees and higher cost of administering programmes.

“Other effects may include, abandonment of physical classrooms in spite of huge investments already made, need for new capitalisation to acquire infrastructure, absence of high speed internet and need for retraining of faculties,” he said.

He also warned that there would be shortage of training opportunities because the oil industry was suffering from no new projects and crash in oil price, hence no funding for trainings, competitive rivalry and lack of certainty in training opportunities.

Wabote said the new regime of virtual training would attract new and global competitors, some with advanced technologies.

He advised local players to explore collaborations, international accreditations, quality, cost and differentiation.

For ongoing trainings, the executive secretary advised OGTAN members to implement COVID-19 safety measures, redesign time table and number of trainees per class, provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and redesign On-the-Job Trainings (OJT) and laboratory events.

He said: “For medium term plans, training firms are to redesign hands-on classes and leverage technology, move majority of theoretical trainings online, retrain faculties for virtual training and provide infrastructure.

“Other strategies are to expand the market place, advertise online, get international students and include trainings required in the other sectors of the economy in their offerings.’’

Wabote also recommended that training companies should consider partnerships, consider jointly establishing a global virtual university with hubs around the world and mergers and acquisition of smaller players.

He said that on NCDMB’s part, the board would provide tablets or laptops in future virtual trainings and would consider a special funding for the acquisition of training technology.

According to him, a special e-learning centre will be established in the Board’s Specialised Centre in Yenagoa, Bayelsa and a new trainees’ handbook and new human Capacity Development Guideline will be launched.

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