From Angola to Svendborg
Angola's Petroleum Minister José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos also had the chance to try out the simulators at Maersk Training’s facility.
The minister’s visit, which also included time in Copenhagen, underlined the close links between Maersk and Angola, and the commitment of both to education and training for local staff to give greater opportunities to more Angolans.
Maersk Oil entered Angola in 2005 and has since made the Chissonga and Azul discoveries, and has CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes to help with schooling, business development training and agro-business. It also has projects for sanitation, hygiene, food and water.
“Maersk Oil is deeply involved in the countries and communities where it works,” says CEO Jakob Thomasen. “Education and training are key for giving more Angolans not just a job, but the skills they need for a career.”
Edson Freitas operates the drilling controls quietly, his movements controlled and calm as alarms alert him to changing pressure and data scrolls by on a screen.
Freitas, a mechanical engineer from Angola, is not offshore on a rig but in the controlled environment of Maersk Training facility in Svendborg, Denmark.
He’s here as part of Maersk Drilling’s Driller Trainee Programme, which gives greater learning by combining offshore experience with stints of theoretical classroom training, showing the effectiveness of two business units working together to give staff the necessary skills.
Leading a test run on a drilling simulator under the gaze of class colleagues from around the world and an instructor, Freitas practises avoiding and controlling “kicks”, when pressure differentials build up in a well.
“It was a little stressful because it was my first time alone in the simulator, but the secret is to keep calm and focused,” says Freitas of the exercise – words that apply equally to real-life drilling.
Freitas and his group of Maersk Drilling trainees exemplify the importance of recruiting staff locally, and how Maersk Training supports other Group companies. As with many emerging economies, Angola requires that a certain percentage of the workforce be filled by its nationals – in its case, 70%.
The Group has several businesses in Angola, including Maersk Line, Maersk Drilling, Maersk Oil, Maersk Supply Service and Svitzer. The close links between the country and Maersk were shown when Petroleum Minister José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos visited Denmark in November, including a trip to Maersk Training in Svendborg.
“Education and training give local recruits more opportunities to move into higher skilled and management positions, and provide Maersk with a more stable workforce. It also helps to ensure standards of safety across business units and countries of operation, with the goal of zero incidents,” says Maersk Training CEO Claus Bihl.