The Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, Franklin Khan, launched a new mentorship training programme in the Ministry of Energy themed ‘Inspiring Trinidad and Tobago’s future’. 

According to the Minister, the programme was driven by Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) whose vision for the creation of a cadre of energy professionals has been adopted by the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI). 

The initiatives are geared toward ensuring that T&T continues to be equipped with the intellectual capacity and capability to service the domestic energy sector. 

Given the outlook for the future, the Minister has indicated that the Ministry has determined that in the current form, it is short on the skill sets and is not structured to effectively execute its mandate. 

He added that, “The lack of proper succession planning, critical manpower shortages and an uncompetitive remuneration has led to a high turnover of its technical staff and impaired its ability to effectively manage the sector. Hence the need for restructuring of the organisation and the development of its human resource capacity. 

Minister Khan admitted that the work of the technical and professional staff of the MEEI is of a specialised nature and not ipso facto applicable to the wider public service. Consequently, the Ministry cannot look to the wider public service for the recruitment of professional staff. Neither can the Ministry look to the private or state sectors for the recruitment of energy professionals due to the uncompetitive remuneration. 

Accordingly, he said that the focus will be on the development and retention of staff. The Minister spoke about the highly qualified persons at the Ministry who have now departed and gone on to work at many large international organisations. 

The mentorship programme comprises three tiers spread over a five-year period. The entry level, tier I, runs for one year and targets graduates with first-class honours or national scholarship recipients with no experience. Tier 2 is for graduates with firstclass honours or national scholarship recipients, with two years’ experience and is for a period of two years. Tier 3 is for graduates with first-class honours or a distinction at the master’s level, with two years’ experience and is for a period of two years. Upon completion of tier 3, the energy professionals will have an opportunity to apply for available vacant positions in the Ministry. 

The training programme comprises an orientation programme, technical workshops (both local and foreign), short-term assignments with operating companies, field exposure and specific duties. Each participant will be assigned a supervisor/ mentor who will provide guidance, monitor and report on the participant’s progress. Minister Khan said that he will be the ‘Mentor in Chief’. 

The curriculum for the programme was developed by a committee headed by our Permanent Secretary, Azizah Baksh-Backredee, and included Wendell Mottley, Selwyn Lashley, Leroy Mayers and Richard Jeremie. Dr. Thackwray Driver, President and CEO of the Energy Chamber attended the launch of the programme and extended congratulations to all the brilliant young people that were inducted into this very important initiative.