NISKU — Of 16 new Canadians who graduated Tuesday from an oil-and-gas industry training program, three were working and couldn’t make it. Four others could only drop in on their lunch breaks.
Job offers have been rolling in for the men, who are originally from Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Nigeria, the Philippines, Liberia, Iran, Uganda, Venezuela and Romania.
Last Friday, they finished 15 weeks of training that has prepared them for entry-level positions in conventional drilling, directional drilling and drilling services.
“This program gives us the keys to the door of our future,” said graduate Daniiar Mamyrazakov, 30. “I see my future. I see the opportunities which are coming, and I want to build our community, our Alberta and our Canada. It was a long journey for me, but finally my dream came true.”
Calgary-based CCIS Oil and Gas Training Programs has run the program since 2002. The grad ceremony was held in Nisku for the first time this year because most graduates are finding work with Nisku-based employers.
Mamyrazakov came to Canada from Kyrgyzstan in 2012. He delivered pizza and worked in construction before being accepted to the training program on his second attempt.
He and fellow grad Ed Noormohammadi, 40, who came from Iran in 2008, fielded several job offers. They said they’ll start with Weatherford this month as field operators in secure drilling services.
“I worked at Tim Hortons in the beginning, and then I was a security guard in many places,” Noormohammadi said of his tough start in Canada. “Trying to find something that paid more than $12 (an hour) was really difficult.”
The training program was hard work, but worth it, he said.
Students were chosen from a pool of about 300 applicants. The curriculum included workplace communication, teamwork, safety awareness, an introduction to the petroleum industry, hands-on work experience and some safety tickets.
Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of CCIS, encouraged graduates to find a good employer and stay with them “a while” instead of moving on after a few months.
“I think maybe the smartest people I have seen, they actually have stayed in a company for some time, to settle,” Birjandian said.
Cindy Hames, director of global field resources for Ensign Energy, thanked the graduates for choosing to work in Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
“Whether or not you go to Ensign or Trinidad or Precision or to Western or CanElson ... whomever you go to, and wherever you end up in this industry, is now your choice,” Hames said. “The path ahead of you is full of opportunity and just amazing adventures.”
Bob Khan, director of operations for the CCIS training programs, introduced the audience to a former student he calls the program’s “poster child.”
Mani Khagani, originally from Iran, completed the program in 2005 and is enjoying a good career. Now a directional drilling supervisor working for Halliburton out of Fort McMurray, the 34-year-old said he earns more than $200,000 per year.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
|By||BY DAVID HOWELL, EDMONTON JOURNAL|
|Program||CCIS Oil & Gas Training Programs|
|Photo by||John Lucas , Edmonton Journal|