MIRI: Welders trained by Sarawak Shell Bhd-initiated ProjekLINK programme are very much sought after by the industry today.
About 60 per cent of the graduates are directly employed by offshore companies, 30 per cent by shipbuilding and fabrication companies across the country and the rest have become qualified welding inspectors.
“About 800 welders have passed through ProjekLINK in Sarawak, filling up vacancies to support Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and the Economic Transformation Programme.
“Young people who have chosen the vocational path can participate directly in the oil and gas industry through this widely-recognised international level certification, in higher paying jobs,” SSB general manager Chok Chee Tsong said.
ProjekLink was initiated by Sarawak Shell Bhd in 1989 to meet a shortfall in qualified local welders.
Back then, Chok said welding was a popular vocational training course for students in Sarawak. However, almost all of the graduates failed to find work in the local oil and gas industry as there were several shortcomings with the curriculum at the time.
“Most welders in oil and gas industry welders in Sarawak then were from other Asean countries. There was a negative impression on the quality of the local vocational school graduates,” said Chok.
In partnership with Ministry of Education and Miri Vocational College, Shell agreed to develop ProjekLINK to train welders to the standard of the oil and gas industry.Now 25 years on Shell is expanding the programme to Bintulu through collaboration with Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis (SMDS).
“ProjekLINK is a showcase of social investment that has become a model of excellence, synonymous with quality welder training.
“The programme is very special at a global level for Shell. It received a Special Merit in the 2013 Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Officer’s award in the category of Excellence in Social Performance,” said Chok.
During the function, Chok symbolically handed over a new welding machine worth RM110, 00 to Miri Vocational College.