By Sarah Samir

A year ago, Schlumberger started the first phase of its protocol with the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower to train young technicians and to empower them to cope with work in the private sector. On May 7 2018, the company hosted a celebratory event in Cairo to honor 110 graduates from its Technician Development Training Program Protocol.The event celebrated the graduation of the third group of trainees and welcomed the fourth group. Schlumberger invests approximately EGP 10 million annually on the training program, according to the company’s Education Services Training Center Manager, Heba Abaza. The protocol aims for training 100 people per batch over 4 months.

Diversity & Inclusion

Schlumberger supports diversity in its training program by including different genders and communities. ”Schlumberger is always giving equal opportunities for employees as it  supports equality and empowers women in the industry,” Abaza said.

“The program is designed as a part of Schlumberger’s corporate social responsibility for Egypt. All sectors of the Egyptian society need to be well represented. When the company found out that the program does not attract a lot of CVs from Egyptian Copts, it referred to the church to ask them to help Schlumberger reach the Egyptian Copts and have them present their CVs for the program in order to have the entire Egyptian society well represented,” Hussein El Ghazzawy, vice president and managing director of Schlumberger Egypt & East Mediterranean, told Egypt Oil & Gas.

However, the company does not encourage quotas as part of its inclusion strategy. “Schlumberger  does not have a quota of how many males, how many females or how many Copts join the program, in the next batch if there are 70% of good CVs belonging to females, then 70% females will join, El Ghazzawy noted. According to him, the first batch of trainees had 30% of women representation, the second batch had 45%, and the third batch had 46%. “Schlumberger gives equal opportunities to people regardless of their race, their nationality or their religion,” El Ghazzawy added.

Female trainees faced some challenges during the program, including using the heavy machines. Yet,  the company and trainers helped them overcome these challenges. “They taught us how to deal with others, how to handle the machines and be responsible for them. They taught us how to assemble any machine from scratch and to install it, and when we are carrying anything, how to carry it right,” Moshera Mohamed Abu Ouf, one of the third batch members, described to Egypt Oil & Gas.

Schlumberger also exerts effort in including people from different governorates across Egypt. “The company encourages the full geographical representation for all of Egypt’s governorates,” El Ghazzawy highlighted.

Raising Awareness about Safety

Safety has been a main concern for Schlumberger throughout the training program. After receiving soft skills training for six weeks, “the trainees started receiving health, safety, and environment training from Schlumberger,” Abaza pointed out.

“The safety training … taught me how to deal with the machines and to take all the needed precautions. and it made me understand that the company is prioritizing workers’ safety over the machines’ safety,” Abdelrahman Ihab, a member of the third group, told Egypt Oil & Gas.

El Ghazzawy emphasized the company’s devotion to the safety of its employees. During Ramadan, Schlumberger is spreading safety awareness among trainees, in order to prevent any harm that might occur when people work while fasting.

Additionally, the company is keen to bridge the gap between education and practice. “It is very important to meet the needs of the industry with education, as no one wants people to study something and find a work that is totally different,” El Ghazzawy pointed out. When employees study and get trained on the same technologies and risks they might face, the safety of the employees is more likely to be ensured.

Towards a Fruitful Future

Schlumberger further exerts effort to help young technicians graduated from the training program to pursue their careers. The company “hired 16 graduates, including four young women, and will hire more. Moreover, Ashraf Abdel Gawad, head of Qarun Petroleum Company, hired five graduates,” El Ghazzawy said, explaining that Schlumberger established a database about the trainees to help them find jobs in other firms.

The Egyptian Minister of Manpower, Mohamed Safaan, urged other oil and gas companies to take the same initiative as Schlumberger. According to him, Egypt “needs at least 10 more companies to do the same experiment, so instead of graduating 300 youth each year, they graduate at least 10,000 youth with the same quality of training.”

The Technician Development Training Program Protocol empowers a new generation of technicians who can handle challenging tasks and keep themselves and their colleagues safe. This technical preparation strengthens Egypt’s position in the oil and gas sector and helps the country become a global hub for professional technicians who could impart knowledge and expertise to the rest of the world.