Óscar González
View from the Top

Bridging the Academic and Private Divide

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:59

Q: What has been ARHIP’s primary goal during the last year?

 A: ARHIP is building links with educational institutions as a member of and adviser to the committee developing the human resources strategic plan for Tamaulipas, Tabasco and Campeche. We have also held administrative and information sessions at different educational institutions such as Tabasco Technological University (UTT), Autonomous University of Carmen (UNACAR) in Ciudad del Carmen and both UNAM and IPN in Mexico City. Our approach is to offer students an overview of the state of Mexico’s oil and gas sector and future careers in the field, such as petroleum and geological engineering.

We had two main objectives with the students. One was to be honest with them about the industry crisis and explain that many recent graduates have not been able to enter the labor market as a result but also to assure them that the industry is rebounding. The second was to convey that in a globalized world getting a higher degree was not enough and that to increase their opportunities of getting hired they would need both a specialization in a technical field such as drilling and a set of soft skills such as teamwork, decision-making and leadership. But students cannot achieve this alone. Institutes of higher education need to help them develop.

Q: What are the highlights of ARHIP’s project with the governments of Tamaulipas, Tabasco and Campeche?

A: We are developing an analysis of the education field for these regional governments, including a study of institutes of higher education, their programs and competencies. Comparing this information with the job-posting catalogue provided by our members will allow us to identify deficiencies according to what the industrial sector requires. Some states, like Campeche, are extremely interested in developing this study and are considering expanding the implementation of the dual education system, which would see educational institutions work closely together with the industrial sector to offer a 50-50 approach for the students. Dual education has proven extremely successful in countries like Germany. In Mexico, the Technical Education Council (CONALEP) has successfully implemented it in the automotive sector, focusing on developing automotive technicians with the support of companies that finance and create facilities for the students. This is a good time for the oil and gas sector to do the same.

Q: What does ARHIP offer new members?

A: We offer our members an immediate benefit by providing a bird’s-eye view of the labor market in Mexico with additional knowledge in labor relations, labor unions and geographic expertise. This is extremely important for new companies coming to Mexico because they lack region-specific awareness. But we also offer added value for companies with experience in the country. Rules have changed and now they have to bid in line with regulations established by several bodies such as ASEA and SEMARNAT while CNH and the Ministry of Finance choose the winners. ARHIP facilitates and paves the way for companies to be successful. Our members are our main driving force and their knowledge, expertise and experience is the added value that we offer.

Q: What has prevented the oil and gas sector from participating in the dual education system until now?

A: The sector is extremely competitive and until now lacked a strong alliance of companies to push for the implementation of dual education. Campeche’s government is asking us to gather allies to create a database of qualifications, certification and skills needed for positions in the oil and gas sector so the education system can work on implementing relevant competencies and certifications in their programs. Having PEMEX as a member will be an important milestone for us because it has a strong network and 33 training centers. Creating synergies with the NOC will speed up our plans. Luckily, PEMEX has already reached out to us and is planning its involvement with ARHIP.