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Petronas' Lifelong Relationship With Learning

Last update: 05/12/2008
News Pic
DATUK DR ROSTI SARUWONO... "The strength of a company, or country, lies in its people and education is a crucial factor in this aspect."
Pic courtesy of Petronas
By Soraya Jamal

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 (Bernama) -- For Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), part of its success is attributed to the trained and skilled personnel that the corporation employs.

To ensure that the company has adequate supply of professionals for its long-term manpower requirements, Petronas has taken a pro-active role in human resources development ever since its inception more than 30 years ago.

It started by sponsoring students to study relevant courses in local and foreign universities.

Later, in 1983, it set up its own technical training institute to train operators and technicians for its expanding manufacturing facilities. At the same time it also established a Management Training Centre to cater for the training and development of business managers and leaders.

"The strength of a company, or country, lies in its people and education is a crucial factor in this aspect", said Petronas vice-president for Education Division Datuk Dr Rosti Saruwono.

Petronas' commitment to education is not limited to addressing its own internal needs only. This is reflected in the wide spectrum of educational and training programmes that it embarks on. It contributes significantly to several initiatives involving primary and secondary school children in addition to those at tertiary education level.

"We believe in wholesome education starting right from the schoolchildren. It is important for us to reach out to the people, as we are involved in an industry which is very much knowledge-based. This is not solely about getting economic value out of it, although we do emphasise on academic achievement," Dr Rosti told Bernama recently.

NURTURING YOUNG PEOPLE

To observe how young people are nurtured, to love and be fascinated by science and technology, one needs to stop by at the Petrosains.

Petrosains is an interactive Science Discovery Centre that explains the science and technology of the petroleum industry in a fun way. It is also about creating awareness of the broad range of exciting career opportunities available in the petroleum industry.

The programmes conducted by Petrosains contributed significantly to Petronas winning the Prime Minister's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award (Education) for 2007.

Going forward, Petrosains is working closely with the Ministry of Education to assist teachers in making the learning of science and mathematics exciting and effective.

To motivate schoolchildren, especially those from low-income families, to aspire for higher academic achievements, Petronas also provides scholarships to students who excel in the public examinations (UPSR, PMR, and SPM).

Only those coming from families with monthly income of RM1,500 or less are eligible for this award. Since 1975, more than 13,500 students have benefited from this scheme.

The education of schoolchildren does not revolve around just academic subjects. Equally important is the development of positive societal values and a healthy lifestyle. Petronas is concerned about drug abuse and the negative effects on society.

Believing that "prevention is better than cure", it is never too early to inculcate awareness among schoolchildren about this menace. The Company is therefore working with the Ministry of Education to educate schoolchildren on the dangers of drug abuse and ways on how to prevent them.

Petronas is providing the ministry with an allocation of RM1.0 million per year for five years for this project.

STRINGENT SELECTION

Petronas is also legendary for its very stringent election over its sponsorship programmes into local and overseas universities, including its own Universiti Teknologi Petronas.

"Universiti Teknologi Petronas specialises in Engineering, Geosciences and Information Technology courses. But we also sponsor students to other universities, locally and overseas, to pursue economics, accountancy, business studies and also engineering and geology courses," Dr Rosti said.

Since 1975, Petronas has sponsored more than 12,000 students into local universities and 6,500 students in foreign universities.

Many of the graduates are now in the senior management level in the oil conglomerate and are contributing towards its development and growth. A significant number are also working in the public and private sectors and are playing important roles in Malaysia's economic progress.

Last month, six Petronas scholars graduated with first class honours from the Imperial College London and another 12 obtained the second-class upper degrees. Imperial Collage is ranked one of the top six universities in the world.

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI PETRONAS

With the establishment of Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Bandar Seri Iskandar, Perak, the corporation is doing its part in making Malaysia an education hub for the region by providing specialised technical programmes relevant to the petroleum industry.

It also offers scholarships to students from countries where Petronas has operations in, such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Mauritania, South Africa, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and many others, to study at UTP.

The setting up of UTP in 1997 was a natural progression for Petronas as it has always been actively involved in training and education.

"We have to prepare graduates who are technically competent and can work in a global environment. It's a very competitive field. Our scholars must have the drive to excel and stretch their potential," Dr Rosti said.

In addition to supporting its own university, Petronas also contributes to the development of local universities, especially in areas related to the petroleum industry.

It provides financial grants to enhance the geology,geosciences or petroleum engineering programmes at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Sabah dan Universiti Malaya. It also encourages its experienced personnel to be external lecturers at these universities.

TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING

To address issues such as the lack of trained technicians and operators for its expanding operations, Petronas established the Institut Latihan Perindustrian Petroleum (ILPP) in 1983 in Kuala Terengganu.

Now known as Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (Instep), the training centre has trained more than 7,500 people.

In support of Petronas' global operations, Instep is now training overseas personnel from Sudan and Turkmenistan, both in Malaysia and in overseas locations.

Petronas also supports the training of skilled personnel conducted by various federal and state training institutions.

For instance, it has funded the 6G welding programmes conducted at Institut Kemahiran MARA (IKM) in Jasin, Pekan, Sungai Petani, Kota Kinabalu and also at Terengganu Skills Development Centre; Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP) Kota Kinabalu, and Pusat Pembangunan Kemahiran Sarawak.

It is also sponsoring the building maintenance technology programme at Giat Mara Kimanis, Sabah and the gas fitting programmes conducted at ILP Terengganu, Kota Kinabalu and Miri.

With the implementation of all its programmes through these facilities, the national oil company is always mindful of its responsibility and the opportunity to contribute to the communities in which it operates, in ways that make a meaningful difference to people's lives.

-- BERNAMA