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2019 Apprentice and trade test candidate of the year awards

Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations Hon. Jeffery Kama, Minister for Works and Implementation Hon. Michael Nali, Acting Chairman of NATTB Mr Ravu Vagi, Acting Secretary for the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations, and Secretary for the Department of Works Mr David Wereh, Director of NATTB Mr. Thomas Kipau, Apprentices, Trades men and women, Company representatives, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to read to you our Executive Director Dr Albert Mellam’s speech and convey his apologies as he is uable to attend this event due to other prior official commitments.

I want to take this opportunity firstly to congratulate the apprentices, the trades men and women, and the individual companies who have successfully made it this far for the awards.

We know the journey over the last couple of months has been hard, but by being here tonight demonstrates your hardwork. You should be proud of your achievement. The PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum is equally proud to be associated with this prestigious event.

The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum has been in operation for well over three decades representing the interest of the mining and petroleum industry sector in PNG, and is an organization of international recognition and reputation on Mining and Petroleum in PNG.

Over these years, the Chamber has been instrumental in helping grow the PNG’s resource industry, as well as,attracting to PNG major mining and petroleum investments. The industry has contributed significantly in underwriting the economic development of this country through these large investments. In fact, a large part of economic planning and policy mix of Government is framed around and modelled on the contributions by the Mining and Petroleum industry, and this will be the case for many more years. Closely aligned with the economic contributions by this sector are the investments the industry continues to make without fail on the social sectors of the country’s economy over many decades.

The industry has invested billions of kina on health, infrastructure, agriculture, the service sector such as hospitality, health and social research, scholarships and education, and created thousands of job opportunities for our men and women.

Specific examples include ante-natal care, TB and immunization programs, building health centres, supporting and training our health workers, supplying much needed drugs in both project and non-project areas, supporting agriculture programs for host communities in areas such as food security, building school infrastructures and assisting schools with curriculum materials, and many more nation building inititives and programs.

The industry has also for many years invested significantly in business development where the industry has helped established and grown landowner businesses, and support SME activities of which some are household names today in the PNG economy such as the IPI Group, Anitua, NKW, Laba Holdings, and Trans Wonderland. Many of these locally incubated companies now invest offshore in multimillion dollar investment projects. They all had their genesis from the flow on benefits from Mining and Petroleum projects in our country.

The support that mining and petroleum companies provides to technical education and training is massive, impressive, and unwaivering.

The resources industry is fully committed to developing a strong and skilled PNG workforce. While the industry directly and indirectly employs over 50,000 people, many of these jobs exist as a direct result of apprenticeship, or other graduate and technical training programs offered by resource companies.

Let me just provide some statistics from our resource companies who are investing millions of kina on training and development of our people.

At Ok Tedi, over 1,070 PNG citizens have received training and graduated as trades persons since operations began in the 1980s with a further 545 graduating from its Graduate Development Program and 1,227 participants receiving training in the other qualifications, under the company’s Prefered Area Development Program.

At Porgera, the mine has trained over 750 employees since 2003 while Total, the lead operator of the Papua LNG project has so far spent K730,000 to trained 50 people from its project impact areas on maritime training and mechanical fitting, and building and construction training at the Port Moresby Techincal College. The project is also further investing K11m on Technical Training for over 300 youths from the project area and Gulf Province before the Papua LNG construction.

The Ramu NiCo Mine has also invested over K1 million to train over 350 apprentices and trades men and women since 2011.

ExxonMobil PNG has also recruited more than 200 Papua New Guineans through its Operations and Maintenance program and also delivered over 89,000 hours of training to its workforce over the past year.

Era Resources, the owners of the Yandera Copper Project, have spent over K680,000 on staff training since 2014.

Oil Search has also trained more than 200 apprentices since the 1990s with more than 58% of those trained still with the company and have progressed to leadership positions in the company.

In addition to the apprenticeship training opportunities, Oil Search also runs a graduate development programme and offer scholarships to cover all aspects of its business.

Ladies and gentlemen, each of our projects could not have trained these many people without the support of organisations like NATTB.

Through your support, almost 71,000 apprentices and 51,000 trade testing personnel have been trained over many years, not just in the resource industry but in all other sectors of our economy. This is a remarkable achievement and the Government and all agencies involved in this deserve our commendation.

This is the reason the Chamber has recognised the value of NATTB and it is only fitting that we support these program through our sponsorship of the two top awards of the Apprentice of the Year, and the Trade Test Candidate of the Year. It is our hope that this recognition will inspire many of our young men and women to excel in their chosen trade.

Ladies and gentlemen, the resource industry is a strong supporter of education and training, as well as, the economic prosperity of our country.

We know that by investing in education, we can never go wrong. A well educated and healthy population, and a highly skilled workforce is the bedrock of the economy of any country, and PNG is no exception. We want to support and invest in the development aspirations of government, and technical education is one such enabler to achieve a sustain, and prosperous growth.

With these remarks, on behalf of Dr. Mellam and entire team at the Chamber, of which some of them are here tonight, I once again thank NATTB for the invitation and congratulate you on the launching of your new website.

The Chamber stands ready to support this prestigious event in the years to come.

Thank you and congratulations to all the winners tonight.

PNG Business News

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