A Head Start in the Oil and Gas Industry

WITH the scarcity of employment in the oil and gas industry, graduates with both soft skills and knowledge will have an edge in the competitive job market.

Tertiary students in this field are taking their own initiative to ready themselves for job recruitment upon graduation.

Felicity Valerie Karim, a 23-year-old final-year petroleum engineering student at Curtin University, said: “Fresh graduates are having difficulties in getting jobs. Be proactive and get involved in programmes in order to network and put yourself in the market,” she said.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia final-year petroleum engineering student Boshkiran Segar, 22, has always strived to gain extra skills in addition to academic knowledge.

“Students learn theories at university. In terms of practical experience, we can only earn it outside the university, through programmes and internships. Exposure and on-the-job learning enhance theories,” he said.

Concerned about employability, Felicity and Boshkiran have joined the NrgEdge Ambassador Programme crafted for students and fresh graduates interested in the energy, oil and gas industry.

The initiative encourages participants to get a head start in the sector and their career journey by getting involved in industry events and learning networking skills.

As ambassadors, students will be the bridge connecting their university and peers with the industry and its latest developments to ensure that the future generations of energy professionals are well-equipped for the transition to professional life.

The programme has received more 150 applicants from various countries to date. However, at present, only Malaysian and Bruneian applicants are accepted.

NrgEdge co-founder Malina Raman said: “This programme was put together to spread the knowledge about what the industry has to offer. Participants network at our professional events and boost their confidence by learning to speak in public. NrgEdge ambassadors also get access to career mentors for guidance on the job market, resume writing as well as skills at an interview.”

Malina added that those employed in the fast growing renewable energy sector will have to update their skills constantly.

“In the long term, the fossil fuels industry will go into a transitionary phase. Undergraduates and young professionals must understand their new prospects in the jobs market of the future. Job opportunities will be different from a decade ago, as there will be more emphasis on the downstream and petrochemicals sector, and the development and production of cleaner fossil fuels such as natural gas.

“As the economies in Malaysia and across the world continue to grow, there will be a sustained need for more energy. The skills acquired by students and young professionals today through varied engineering and scientific disciplines can be applied in the fast growing renewable energy sector.”

At the NrgEdge Ambassador Boot Camp, the first training session of the programme, trainer Siti Rasidah Mohd Shihab coached 16 students in mind-challenging activities.

Siti Rasidah, who had worked with Petronas for 25 years, sees this programme as training participants to survive in a world with fewer job openings.

“Graduates are flooding the market. They have to work at getting employment these days. Given the tough job market, they have to buck up. Things are not how they used to be.

“Previously, graduates were easily employed as soon as they graduated. This is not the case today. They have to compete and be versatile.”

The first instalment of the programme will see 31 participants taking part in a series of events to be conducted across Malaysia.

One of the ambassadors, final-year petroleum engineering student Fatin Aina Zawani Jais, 21, said that this programme gives her the chance to network with people face-to-face, a practice which is getting rare in the digitalised world.

“It is important to meet people to share opportunities and knowledge to gain exposure to the industry. We talk about issues which we don’t get to express at university. We learn about the differences in the learning environment at different tertiary institutions and the syllabi,” she said.

NrgEdge regional strategic partnerships manager Mohd Anas Asalem, who is also a graduate of the oil and gas field, said that the programme creates multi-talented employees to fill the talent gap in the sector.

“When people in the industry retire, fresh graduates cannot fill the posts because of the downturn. This has been taking place for 20 years,” he added.

NrgEdge is trying to expand its programme to Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand. This year the programme received applicants from Malaysia (40 per cent), Indonesia (18), Singapore (12), India (nine) and other countries (21).

Interested to join the NrgEdge Ambassador Programme? Sign up HERE.

This article was first published on The New Straits Times.