Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has trained another batch of internationally-certified female welders, setting a new record on local content in the oil and gas industry.
The multi-national said the gesture was in line with its belief the future of Nigeria should be in the hands of Nigerians.
Speaking to reporters, one of the first certified female international welding specialists in Nigeria, Chinonye Okonkwo, stated when she started the training, many people were coming to watch her to validate their belief that she would fail.
But she ended up representing the “new wave” of home-grown engineering talent on the African continent as the company tapped into the knowledge and expertise of international partners to build a domestic talent base to serve the needs of this dynamic country.
According to her, she joined Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria in 2015, initially in the administration team.
She saw colleagues joining the new welding training programme, and was curious about whether this could be a career choice for her.
“I spoke to my manager and he told me that in Korea it is quite normal for a woman to become a welder. So, I thought that there is no reason why it can’t be the same in Nigeria,” Okonkwo explained.
She stated when she began the training programme, she was faced with lots of people coming to watch her
progress – not to see her succeed but to validate belief she would fail.
Okonkwo did nothing of the sort. She’s now one of Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria’s most talented welders promoted to an assistant training role where she trains new welders, amplifying her impact on the local talent base.
Okonkwo recently returned from a trip to the Geoje Shipyard in Korea to improve her skills and is looking forward to a future for the SHI-MCI yard in Lagos, Nigeria following the successful completion of the Egina FPSO.
The Floating production storage and offloading partially fabricated in Lagos is the world’s largest platform of its type.
On her advice to future engineers, she said: “If you are willing to try something different, you can find beauty in creating something special for yourself: a career where you play your role in the future of our country at the same time as building a career for you and your family.”
She is now the proud holder of an International Welding Specialist Licence, which she obtained via her work at the yard.
This success story has been made possible through Samsung Heavy Industries’ belief in the potential of Nigerian companies and workers to deliver to their tough, exacting standards.
A number of records were broken during construction. This is the first ever project to meet Nigeria’s demanding new standards for “local content”, which in simple terms means Nigerian-owned business delivering work in Nigeria.
Over 9.7 million hours of time have been spent by the Nigerian workforce with over 6,000 Nigerians in employment on the project at its peak via Samsung and its partners and subcontractors.
This project is not the end of Samsung’s ambitions for Nigeria.
The firm said its vision is a future of extraordinary growth and opportunity, building on their now-proven model for heavy involvement of local companies and local workforce talent.
The combination of Korean efficiency and expertise, fused with Nigerian talent and passion, presents limitless possibilities for a future repairing, maintaining and building high value ships to serve needs in Africa and beyond.