Chris Cardona, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, tours state-of-the-art San Gwann facility.
The Ableman Drilling Careers Academy today welcomed Dr. Christian Cardona, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, for a tour of the €2.5 million facility in the heart of the San Gwann Industrial Estate. The Academy, which was set up in 2015, is a centre of excellence focused on the training and education of the international oilfield community.
“We are dedicated to training a workforce that will be readily available to meet the unique needs of this demanding industry,” said Angelique Maggi, director of the Ableman Drilling Careers Academy. “We are improving key skills while also putting Malta on the map as one of the region’s top centres for training.”
The Academy, which is unique in the region and is an integral part of the Ablecare Group’s Mediterranean Maritime Hub, held its first course in March 2015 when it prepared a group of local students for an offshore career. The IADC Gateway Programme included classroom and workshop training that provided the entry-level knowledge and skills needed for those keen to progress in a career within the oil and gas industry.
“Excellence is the cornerstone of the Academy,” Academy Head Bill Richardson said. “From our custom-designed teaching facilities to the credentials of our instructors, we have put our focus firmly on providing cost-effective, world-class training that delivers a confident and competent workforce, in turn enhancing our clients’ operational workforce and commercial bottom line.
“We can even provide a ‘white label’ solution, where organisations can make use of any of our facilities and expertise to offer their own training in a safe and secure environment.”
Now, the Academy is accredited to offer a range of courses, including Well Control courses (as accredited by the International Well Control Forum and the International Association of Drilling Contractors) that are mandatory for those working in the industry. This training is renewable every four years, and the first set of courses will begin this month.
“We are the only facility offering these courses in the region and believe we can offer something very particular to our international students. Not only will they have access to top-of-the-range facilities, but they will be able to make use of Malta’s strategic location – ideally placed between Europe and North Africa,” Ms Maggi added.
As part of his tour of the facility, Minister Cardona was also given the chance to experience the Academy’s cutting-edge drilling simulator, which was installed earlier this year following further investment. The simulator is used by students to familiarise themselves with real-world conditions on-board a rig. It also gives them the chance to explore the boundaries or operation procedures on rigs, and experience the consequences of crossing them in a ‘safe’ environment.
“We often talk of Malta developing as an energy hub in the Mediterranean and this is further evidence that it is actually happening,” he said.
“Ablecare has already committed to invest €55 million in the old Marsa shipbuilding site, making it the place to go to for those in the oil and gas sector requiring maintenance and servicing. This is obviously good news for the Maltese economy. It is also good news for job creation,” Minister Cardona added.
Earlier this year, Ablecare Oilfield Services Holdings concluded talks with the government to develop the former Malta Shipbuilding yard into a Maritime Hub featuring an oil rig servicing centre and a training institute.
Looking to the future, the Academy is set to continue its ongoing investment, and has recently been approved to deliver CompEx courses, as required for electricians working in dangerous and/or explosive environments such as oil rigs, sewage and water treatment plants, power stations, fuel stations and so on.
This course has never been available locally, so it will also provide a learning development opportunity for local electricians to further their education and improve their skills. Courses are scheduled to start in October.
Beyond that, the Academy will also be keeping its commitment to invest in a crane simulator, and the directors are actively working with partners to be able to provide certified crane training and crane maintenance training by 2017.