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UG to establish School of Energy and Mines

Coverage courtesy Fly Jamaica

Professor Ivelaw Griffith addressing the Guyana Investment Conference.

Professor Ivelaw Griffith addressing the Guyana Investment Conference.

The University of Guyana (UG) plans to establish a School of Energy and Mines, a move that has been welcomed by investors in those extractive industries.

UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said a feasibility study would be conducted to determine how best that tertiary institution could match the demands of mining and expected oil production.

“We will be later on bringing a feasibility team to look at establishing a School of Energy and Mines. We cannot be a nation thinking about oil and don’t have at the university an enterprise that trains, researches…,” said Griffith who re-migrated to Guyana on Saturday after living and working in the United States for the past 35 years.

Targeting investors, he advised that an educated workforce was key for prosperity, growth and development. “You have got to have confidence in the educational enterprise as well. Part of my vision is one that sees a great embrace of the business sector,” he told a Guyana Investment Conference held in New York on Friday.

A decision has been already taken for UG to establish a Business and Civic Engagement Council to be co-chaired by the Chairman of the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), Patricia Bacchus and Executive Member of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Gerry Gouveia.

Country Manager for Guyana Goldfields, Violet Smith welcomed Professor Griffith’s announcement, saying the School of Energy and Mines would help to create a pool of much needed skilled persons. “I think it will help the sector in terms of creating young Guyanese to be able to partake in the development of their country in the natural resources sector,” she said.

Smith added that her company has been experiencing a local shortage of the required skills, but at the same time has been “supporting actively” the training of Guyanese at the Government Technical Institute , Mining School and technical vocational schools through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects “so that we can start to prepare persons to work for us when the time comes.”

When UG’s School of Energy and Mines is established, she believes that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s Mining School can be integrated with the one at that tertiary institution.

Chief Executive Officer of Mid Atlantic Oil and Gas, Dr. Kamal Edris Dookie also welcomed Professor Griffith’s announcement and suggested that the School of Energy and Mines be established in the Faculty of Technology as that would be the “ideal place.”  “We need people, we need skills, we need qualified Guyanese and you have got to start training them now, educate them. The oil sector is going to help. It’s part of our whole social programme,” said Dookie.

Among the professionals that Guyana requires, he said, include geologists, petroleum geologists, geophysicists, petroleum engineers, drilling engineers and lower level personnel who work on oil rigs during production. “That’s part of our agenda- qualified Guyanese. You bring them on board, train them, educate them and it’s highly skilled. You make a mistake in the offshore and you have problems,” he said.

Mid Atlantic Oil and Gas, JHI Associates and Exxon are teaming up to explore for oil offshore Guyana.