Malaysia's INSTEP Tells Local Oil, Gas Staff to Upgrade Skills

Malaysia's Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) - a technical training institution for service providers in the petroleum sector owned by a unit of national oil company Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) - called on oil and gas workers in the country to upgrade their skills in spite of the current industry downtrend, CEO Chandramohan Saminathan said Sunday, as quoted by local news agency Bernama. 

He noted that the oil and gas sector had cutback, slashed budget, reduced training, halted recruitment and even resorted to retrenchment as oil prices fell by over 50 percent since the second half of last year.

"It is an opportunity right now for those in oil and gas sector to capitalize and upscale trainings in their workforce when activities are down, so that they will be ready when prices are up again," Saminathan commented, adding that the smart thing to do in the current situation was not to stop recruitment all together.

"PETRONAS experienced this in the late 1980's where we stopped recruitment for some time and found that there was a big gap in continuity," he explained.

Meanwhile, UK's standards body for skills in oil and gas OPITO supported the call for oil and gas personnel to enhanced their skills in the current challenging environment.

"When you train and develop people, you can't think of one-two years or even three years of talent ... You've got to think long-term, where education and skills development is concerned, it is not something that you can turn on or off," OPITO's Group Chief Executive David Doig said.

"Training and development should be perceived as an investment and in the likes of PETRONAS through INSTEP, they are ready to take advantage of the absence, when it comes," Doig added, noting that while the industry has its ups and downs, smart people are the ones that make investments.

INSTEP, owned by PETRONAS Technical Training Sdn Bhd, was established in 1981 with the primary focus on  training skilled technicians and operators working in Malaysia's oil and gas industry.

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