Challenger TAFE's Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT) continues to attract international attention as the global demand for Australian-qualified oil and gas workers intensified.
Challenger TAFE Managing Director, Liz Harris, said that with Australia’s education exports booming and the vocational sector faced with increased competition locally, future growth hinged on engagement with global markets.
“Our experience has been positive in that many countries favour an Australian qualification because of the high quality and cost effectiveness when compared with European and American alternatives, which obviously provides a competitive advantage for our institutions,” she said.
This was highlighted by a recent visit from the Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Kedah to sign a memorandum of understanding with the College.
The Chief Minister toured the ACEPT facilities, and said the College was well-equipped to help train the additional workers needed to meet their economic growth forecasts.
“Challenger TAFE will greatly assist us as we enter a new era of socio-economic development in Kedah by working to provide a qualification framework for training in hydrocarbon operations and maintenance,” he said.
“Kedah is attracting record investments in a number of projects, including a hydrocarbon processing hub, and we anticipate the creation of 15,000 new jobs by 2013.”
As part of their foray into the Middle East market, Challenger TAFE has also undertaken a successful training delivery partnership with the Institute of Applied Technology in Dubai.
Under this arrangement, the College certifies IAT facilities and training staff provides the curriculum and issues the final qualification.
Ms Harris recently attended the inaugural graduation ceremony at the Al Ain Campus of the IAT, and said the collaboration was likely to yield educational and social benefits for the UAE in addition to improved training outcomes.
“This collaboration marks an important historic shift for the UAE in that they will be able to develop a local skills base rather than rely exclusively on foreign workers, while positive social outcomes have been achieved through programs for disengaged youth, which reduced anti-social behaviour and promoted social inclusion” she said.
“From our perspective we are building a strong profile in the Middle East, having previously assisted with Qatar Petroleum’s workforce development.”
Challenger TAFE Governing Council member and Human Resource Manager at Chevron Australia, Kaye Butler, said these training partnerships represented a significant development for the global resources sector.
“There is a huge and immediate need around the world to face the challenge of building human capital in the oil and gas sector, and the College - through ACEPT - is ideally positioned to meet the unprecedented demand for process operations training,” she said.