PPK graduates begin work at Pulau Muara Besar

619 from PPK first cohort to work with Hengyi’s contractors as PMB first phase looks to be up and running by 2019

619 inaugural graduates of Capacity Development Centre (PPK) have begun work at Hengyi’s refinery and petrochemical plant at Pulau Muara Besar (PMB).

The first batch of 308 reported for duty on January 2, while the remaining began earlier today.

The graduates, who successfully completed training at PPK last December, will be working in skilled manual or technical positions, including scaffolder, marker fitter/riveter, blaster painter, steelcraft, rigger, mason/plasterer, insulator and heavy vehicle driver.

The graduates will be working for Hengyi’s main contractors, who have collectively committed to offering 2,836 jobs to those who successfully complete training at PPK.

Five of the main foreign contractors have also formed joint ventures with local companies: China Sinogy Electric Engineering Co. Ltd with Sahid Sdn Bhd, China Chemical Engineering Second Construction Corporation with Mashhor General Contractor Sdn Bhd, China National Chemical Engineering Third Construction Co. Ltd (Sniotcc) with Joffren Omar Sdn Bhd, China Construction Installation Engineering Co. Ltd with PTAS Sdn Bhd and NJNCC (B) Sdn Bhd with Hj Adinin & Sons.

The new employees will reside in dormitories built on PMB, returning home during their off days. When the bridge from PMB to Serasa is complete in May 2018, staff will be able to commute from home. The Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) also has an office at PMB to facilitate the integration of the new employees.

Scaffolders Ibnu Wira Samsudin and Abd Khaliff Hj Abd Karim, both 25, shared that they were prepared and excited to begin work to provide for their families.

“Before this I was working as an audio engineer at a production house,” said Ibnu before boarding on a boat at the Serasa Terminal to head to PMB. “I took up scaffolding at PPK because I needed a way to earn more. I’m happy that I did because I found that I like the challenge (scaffolding) offers.”

Khaliff, who already has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mechanical Engineering prior to enrolling to PPK, said he was looking forward to putting the theory learned from Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) into action.

“The PPK training was 20 per cent theory and 80 practical which was good. I also learned quite a lot of theory (during my HND),” said Khaliff, who was working at a restaurant before signing up with PPK. “Before enrolling (to PPK) I was contemplating to continue studying for an (undergraduate) degree, but I am happier that I have found an opportunity to work straight away.”

Fatin Nabilah Hj Abdullah, another scaffolder of the same age and graduate of UTB, said the news of PPK’s opening came at the opportune time.

“I have (recently) graduated and Alhamdullilah this is my first job,” she said. “There is also an increasing number of women in this field (of construction) and we are excited to begin (work),” she added while pointing to the women at the Serasa Terminal waiting to board the boats.

The employment of the 619 trainees has reduced unemployment by 0.3% per cent. Brunei’s unemployment has dropped from 6% in July to 5% in December last year, according to EIDPMO.

The first phase of the PMB project is slated for completion in 2019, while the second phase is targeted by 2022, according to the Chairman of Zhejiang Hengyi Group Co. Qiu Jianlin in a previous interview. Investments in both phases have been reported to amount to over USD 15 billion – representing the largest foreign direct investment into Brunei in recent years and is also Hengyi’s largest investment outside China.

PMB will have the capacity to refine up to 22 million tonnes of crude oil annually, with downstream output for the first phase at 1.5 million tonnes of paraxylene and 500,000 tonnes of benzene, which will be further increased by 1.5 million tonnes of paraxylene and ethylene annually under phase two.

The refining of crude oil ensures Brunei has self-sufficiency in petroleum products for local consumption – the surplus of which will be exported to regional countries – while much of the downstream chemical products – used primarily as raw material for industrial processes and manufacturing – will be exported to China.

PPK’s second intake stake also began today, with 852 trainees. By the end of 2018, PPK is targeting to train 3,000 local jobseekers. According to a previous report, students with Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualifications and below will receive a monthly training allowance of $300, and those with Higher National Diploma (or equivalent) will receive $500.

After graduating and entering into employment, they will continue to receive that same amount in the form of a monthly salary top-up for three years.

The majority of those enrolling to PPK are between 18 and 40-years-old. Courses are typically between two and six months, conducted by Registered Training Organizations.

The establishment of PPK was first announced by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a Titah delivered on the occasion of the monarch’s 71st birthday as a centre offering fit-for-purpose training for locals demanded by private industry and certified by industry standards.

You can contact PPK directly through their hotline at +6738324488. EIDPMO can also be reached through their Local Business Development hotline at +6737299111.