Training key in empowering workers and enhancing national development

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 03:09 PM Jun 21 2024
Downstream technical staff at the Pressure Reducing Station in Ubungo, Dar es salaam

Training has been described as one of the crucial aspects in empowering employment and enhancing national development and this is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seek to shift the world onto a suitable and resilient path, ensuring that no one is left behind.

SDG 4 ensures inclusive and equitable quality education, promotes lifelong learning and opportunities for all.

PanAfrican Energy Tanzania (PAET) has been sailing through the SDGs path by having a robust staff training programme which has not only empowered its employess but also significantly contributed to the development of Tanzania’s workforce and its overall economy.

Over the past decade, PAET has invested over $3.2 million intraining initiatives, cultivating a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that has driven the company’s operational excellence and strategic growth.

In an interview recently, Andy Hanna PAET Managing Director said: "I am immensely proud of our commitment to nurturing a highly skilled and talented workforce that reflects the community and culture of Tanzania.” 

“Our focus on training and development is not just about enhancing the capabilities of our employees; it's about contributing to the broader economic development of Tanzania. By investing heavily in training and upskilling, we ensure that our team is equipped with the technical expertise needed to thrive in our industry. This investment in our people has allowed us to build a predominantly Tanzanian leadership team, demonstrating our dedication to providing long-term and rewarding careers for our employees." He said.

He said that PAET’s training initiatives span a wide array of technical and professional development programs. From the maintenance of raw gas compressors to international certifications in health and safety, PAET has ensured that its employees are equipped with cutting-edge skills and knowledge.

According to him, training programmes include Raw Gas Compressor Maintenance that  has been instrumental in enabling employees to maintain and troubleshoot newly installed compressors, minimizing production downtime and associated costs; Gas Engines Technology which is focused on the overhaul and maintenance of V36 engines, this training has enhanced the mechanical and technical skills of PAET’s workforce.

Other issues are environmental, social and governance (ESG) – an International Sustainable Business Specialist Levels 1 and 2 the program has helped establish a robust ESG committee within PAET, driving the company's sustainability objectives; health & safety certification which Provides comprehensive knowledge in health and safety, this certification ensures the safe supervision of all company operations and Well Integrity Management and Gas Conditioning & Processing: These specialized trainings have fortified PAET’s operational capabilities in critical areas.

The impact of these training programs is evident in the remarkable professional advancements within PAET. When operations started, various skills were absent in the country or in short supply, since then numerous positions that were previously held by expatriates and consultants are now occupied by Tanzanian professionals, demonstrating the effectiveness of PAET’s training initiatives in building local expertise. Some key positions now occupied by Tanzanians include: the Deputy Managing Director; the Operations Manager; 2 Site Managers; 2 Deputy Site Managers; a Downstream Manager; 3 Reservoir Engineers; 2 Project Engineers; a Geologist and Logistics Manager. Currently, 99% of all PAET staff are Tanzanian nationals.

These appointments highlight the development of a competent and confident Tanzanian workforce capable of leading complex projects and driving the company’s strategic goals. 

Vincent Edward, a geologist at PAET shared how the company has helped his professional and personal development, saying, “PAET has given me exposure to international training and experiences that have advanced my knowledge and helped me acquire new skills. The company has the tools to enable me to become a better version of myself every day and I also have an opportunity to work closely with international consultants on various projects, specifically the 3D seismic project that I was involved from the design phase, tender management, and execution phases.  Moreover, the company has built my professional capability and confidence, preparing me to manage and lead future projects in my area of expertise.”

Since 2020, PAET has also been running a highly successful internship program, designed to nurture young talent and provide practical industry experience. The program initially started with three engineering interns and has since expanded significantly. In 2022, nine university graduates from various disciplines joined the program, with placements in logistics, commercial, HR, finance, and oil and gas engineering departments. Following the success of the 2022 program, PAET continued its commitment by engaging ten more graduate interns in 2023, spread across IT, HSE, finance, procurement, and oil and gas engineering departments.

The internship program offers invaluable opportunities for graduates to gain hands-on experience, apply theoretical knowledge, and work alongside seasoned PAET professionals. This not only enhances their skills but also boosts their confidence and readiness for future roles in the industry.

Lydia Mwasakyene, an intern in the Health & Safety and ESG department is incredibly happy with the results of the internship program saying, “The program has equipped me with the practical skills, industrial knowledge and networking opportunities that have prepared me to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities within the natural gas industry. I have learned to adapt to dynamic work environments, collaborate effectively within multidisciplinary teams and prioritize safety and the environment.” 

PAET’s internship program has become highly competitive and attracts the highest performing applicants. Moreover, the company itself benefits as indicated by the fact that 78% of the 2022 cohort are now employed full time employment with the Company.

Employees gain advanced technical and professional skills, which open doors to higher career opportunities and leadership roles within the company. Many employees have become active members of their professional boards, further validating their expertise and commitment to their fields. 

As PAET’s employees become more skilled, they contribute to the efficiency and reliability of Tanzania’s energy sector, ensuring a stable and sustainable supply of electricity.

By explicitly aligning its staff training with the principles outlined in Tanzania's Local Content Policy, PAET is not only meeting regulatory requirements but is actively contributing to the nation's self-sufficiency and resilience in the oil and gas sector. The program stands as a testament to the company's unwavering commitment to the socio-economic development of the country, ensuring that the benefits of the industry are maximized for the local population, and the nation as a whole reaps the rewards of its invaluable natural resources thus paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for the United Republic of Tanzania.