RSK Group Plc and the University of Basrah have agreed to enter into a partnership to help train the next generation of Iraqi engineers and to give them practical experience which would help them to obtain jobs in the Iraqi oil industry.
The partnership will give University of Basrah students access to oil field work experience, internships and for some, hopefully, jobs at RSK’s Iraq Energy City base. It will also enable RSK to recruit Iraqi employees trained as specialist engineers for the oil and gas industries.
RSK is a UK-headquartered environmental, social, health, safety and engineering services company, whose Iraq operation provides ESHS services to clients including Iraq’s South Oil Company (SOC) and Basrah Gas Company in relation to major energy projects in Iraq.
RSK currently employs 20-30 Iraqi staff in Iraq Energy City, and is hoping to grow this number by bringing in specialists trained at the University of Basrah.
Working with the University of Basrah’s College of Engineering, RSK will help design specialist vocational training courses targeted at particular employment opportunities in Iraq’s oil fields, for example training students to run and maintain oil processing facilities. Lecturers at the university will deliver the courses.
Under the agreement, RSK will also help graduates of these courses to connect with universities in the UK which have appropriate post graduate opportunities.
Alan Ryder, founder and CEO of RSK, said:
‘I see working with the university as a great opportunity for us to train engineers and scientists to have the skills we need. I am looking to reduce the number of RSK expatriates in Iraq and to build our business with Iraqi nationals who are local to our offices there. This is not something we can deliver over night, but it is something we are committed to.’
David Taylor, international business development director at RSK, said:
‘Iraqis can sometimes find it difficult to access the job opportunities and financial rewards offered by the country’s oil industry. This partnership aims to make it easier for Iraqi students to train for and access jobs with international energy companies working in the south of the country.
‘It’s also RSK’s policy, when working outside the UK, to involve and employ local people wherever it can. The environmental work that we carry out often demands local social and cultural knowledge. This is a great opportunity for us to bring Iraqi talent into RSK at all levels, and this economic partnership with a fantastic academic institution is of tremendous value to both parties.’
Professor Ali Doubaul of the University of Basrah said:
'The University of Basrah is delighted to be partnering with an internationally respected company such as RSK. Our vision of education extends beyond the classroom and, with the support of RSK, the gap between theory and practical applications can be bridged.
"The value added to all sides is enormous. University students can be assured they are getting the best available training that will prepare them for employment in Iraq and internationally, elevating them above other candidates.
"The industry can be assured a credible, solid basis of knowledge from the program we are delivering. Our partnership with RSK breaks down the barriers intrinsic in local capacity building and focuses on the foundations required for success."