Engineer students from University of Guyana being absorbed by oil companies even before graduation – Vice Chancellor 

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The need for engineers in Guyana’s booming oil industry has led to students from the country’s premier university being absorbed by companies even before they graduate. 

Vice Chancellor (VC) of the institution, Dr. Paloma Mohamed shared in a recent discussion that currently, the facility is unable to meet the demand of the sector. 

“We have trebled the number of engineers that we were producing since 2020 but still that is not enough because they are getting absorbed even before they graduate into the international private sector…” Dr. Mohamed explained. “We are not producing specialists. Our engineering program is a first-degree program…now if you want a specialist, you need to take that person – [and] the oil and gas industry has been taking them and putting them through programs.”

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Companies like SBM Offshore, a builder of Guyana’s production vessels, offer engineering scholarship opportunities. Seven graduate engineers from the university were recruited by the company to be trained abroad for placement on the Prosperity vessel. The seven young Guyanese—five men and two women— traveled to the Netherlands and Singapore as part of an 18-month training program. In the Netherlands, they worked with the team on the design of the Prosperity vessel, while in Singapore, got firsthand experience on the vessel. Following the completion of the training, the graduates were awarded official placements within the company.

CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited also has a similar program, offering scholarships for petroleum engineering and geoscience

The Vice Chancellor noted that the university’s engineering faculty has seen improvements with the development of the oil industry; a “dramatic increase” in applications was observed, especially among women and girls. 

Dr. Mohamed said the university sought to increase its intake but it is still not enough. 

“[The faculty] is one of the fastest growing. It had been basically neglected for donkey years because we could not absorb the number of engineers and now we cannot produce enough engineers,” she continued. 

To boost its capacity, the VC noted that the university is looking to expand its petroleum labs as it currently faces a space constraint. Supported by the Greater Guyana Initiative (GGI), the university will soon see the development of a Science and Technology Centre to facilitate enhanced technical education in Guyana. 

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