ProjekLINK is an industrial welder training programme run by the college, with technical and financial support from Shell. It was conceived by Sarawak Shell Berhad in 1989 to develop local technical skills, by raising the standard of welders to internal level through a certification programme.
The event was marked with a ceremony held at the college, witnessed by Datu Len Talif Salleh, assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Promotion of Technical Education), Chok Chee Tsong, Sarawak Shell Berhad’s general manager and Sherene Choo, Miri Vocational College director.
The occasion saw the presentation of certificates for a global Shell award as well as the symbolic handing over for a new welding machine worth RM110,000 from Shell to Miri Vocational College.
The long term programme received a global Merit Prize from the multi-national oil giant for its positive impact on the industry and local community early this year. Its advisors from Shell were awarded the Shell CEO’s Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) and Social Performance Award (SP). The company took the opportunity to present the college with a replica certificate in appreciation of their long standing cooperation in the programme’s delivery.
Len applauded Shell’s early initiative in developing ProjekLINK, which he said, “has a direct impact in transforming the local community into skilled and qualified welders who are in high demand.”
He commended the efforts made by Shell to invest in the local youth. “This will definitely have a positive impact and contribute towards our aspiration to achieve high-income nation status.”
According to Len, technical skills education was increasingly relevant to the development of the economy as the country moved towards industrialisation. “Our youth need to have bigger ambitions and to achieve this, they need to be technically educated. These are all factors in order for Sarawak to achieve a high per capita income.”
Chok in his speech said that as a responsible oil and gas operator, Shell Malaysia responded to the government’s call to raise technical skills in the state. “Before 1989, most welders employed in the local oil and gas industry were non-Malaysians and the majority were from the neighbouring ASEAN countries thus giving a negative impression on the quality of the local vocational school graduates.”
He said through ProjekLINK, Shell Malaysia has been assisting Miri Vocational College for the past 25 years in training welders to the oil and gas industry’s exacting standards and help produce qualified welders. He also revealed that the success of the programme has seen its extension to Bintulu, and that they were exploring other opportunities for expansion.
Len commended Shell for its skills training for the local community through programmes such as wells drilling training and operation technician programmes. He urged other companies to follow this exemplary effort.
After 25 years, ProjekLINK is synonymous with quality welder training programme. The certified welders are very much sought and find employment easily in oil and gas, shipbuilding and fabrication, and other heavy industries.
Through ProjekLINK Miri, over 800 competent welders have been trained with more having undergone the programme in Bintulu and previously in Kota Kinabalu. This has added to the numbers of skilled human capital in Malaysia, contributing towards the requirements to support SCORE and ETP.
The multi-national’s focus on technical skills development and safety has led to the development of a programme called PRESTIGE or Practical, Environmental, Safety and Industrial Guidance for young Engineers – a comprehensive workshop incorporating activities and scenarios designed to test students’ ability to understand and apply HSE concepts, incorporating best practices and application in the workplace with real-world examples. Started six years ago, PRESTIGE has benefitted more than 400 engineering undergraduates from UNIMAS and UMS in East Malaysia. The programme is also run in the Peninsular.
Upstream Communications, Shell Malaysia Exploration & Production
Zulkifli Baba Noor