Considering Guyana’s accelerated pace of production in the Stabroek Block, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found that there will be a high demand for engineering and risk management professionals over the next five years.
This was noted in the ILO’s report titled: Prospective occupational skills needs in the Guyanese oil and gas industry, 2022-2026. This document was compiled following a study that was done by the Ministry of Labour and the ILO’s Caribbean Office to address a major information gap regarding the human resources needs for the booming oil and gas industry.
The ILO report states that the main occupational profiles in demand for the next five years appear to be those of engineering professionals, risk management professionals (specifically for environment and occupational health and hygiene), and ships’ deck crews and related workers. In decreasing order of demand, ILO said there will be a need for finance professionals, mining and construction labourers, physical and engineering science technicians, sheet and structural metal workers, moulders and welders, and mineral processing plant operators. In addition to those, the ILO said online job openings highlight the demand for experienced physical and engineering science technicians as opposed to professionals.
Significantly, the study states that capable welding, capacity to ensure health and safety compliance, nautical knowledge of vessel operations, rigging, and analysis of data and project management, represent the technical skills most in demand and considered scarcely available in the country. In addition, while huge gaps do not exist in terms of IT skills in the labour force; it was found that leadership, analytical capacity, and business conduct competencies are among the transferrable skills that appear chronically deficient locally.
Another critical finding of the study pertains to the number of graduates from Guyana’s tertiary and vocational training institutions to meet demands. The data suggest that expertise in health and safety and risk management appears to be the least acquirable qualification as per current tertiary and vocational training offers, while the number of graduates from welding, metal work and mechanical engineering appears to be vastly undersupplying the market.
Also, the study found that there is an almost complete absence of training supply in trades to allow workers to become ships’ deck crews and related workers.
As the shortage of technical skills appears to be the most concerning one, notwithstanding the need to ensure the availability of fully fledged curricula preparing students with several competencies, the ILO urged authorities to urgently focus investments on building up technical skills as it may bring the largest payoff for the nation.