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Wed 2 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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Training company bringing Latin Americans to ease skills crisis

US-based training and recruitment firm, CT&CS, is bringing Latin American oil workers to the Middle East to ease the skills shortage that is plaguing the industry.

US-based training and recruitment firm, CT&CS, is bringing Latin American oil workers to the Middle East to ease the skills shortage that is plaguing the industry, the company told Oil&Gas Middle East recently.

“There are plenty of people waiting to come here,” said CT&CS partner Gerald Taylor. “I don’t know why no one’s done it before. It looks pretty simple,” he said.

The firm is analysing which city would be the best place to open its regional office, and has signed a deal with Qatar-based Oryx, a construction company, to provide it with skilled labour.

Reggie Lambert, CT&CS president said: “The present opportunities for expansion in the region are crowding in and we expect to be commencing major craft training efforts in Dubai within the next two months.”

While the rest of the world suffers from a manpower crisis, Venezuela is awash with out of work oil workers—three years ago its government fired more than 18,000 employees of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) for joining an opposition strike meant to force the resignation of President Hugo Chavez. The president weathered the strike, regained control of the oil industry and sacked thousands of workers. “We have contacts in Venezuela,” Taylor said.

He said that although Latin Americans have not traditionally worked in the region, cultural differences and working practices should not be a problem in Gulf countries. We send people in units with supervisors—people who speak the workers’ language, he said, adding: “Construction is construction is construction.”

Taylor stressed that he is not bringing in cheap, unskilled labour. “We bring qualified personnel. We don’t try to compete on a cost basis—we offer people who can do the job. We will train people who have most of the skills, but not all. We have three centres that train welders, for example. And many of the people whom we look at are within two days of being able to pass our test, so we train them. We screen people to see where they fit and we have training centres in the United States. We can send anyone from labourers to petroleum engineers, he said.

“We’ll also train Emiratis and Qataris who want to work—it doesn’t matter where someone’s from—our job’s to put people into jobs. We’ll bring our expertise here to do that training,” he said.

And with the oil industry beefing up production, the skills crisis looks set to worsen in the short term.

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