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General News of Monday, 23 September 2019

Source: Daniel Kaku

Aker Energy, GNPC award scholarships to 200 deserving students in Western Region

Aker Energy, has, in collaboration with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) awarded scholarships to two hundred (200) "brilliant but needy" 2019 BECE graduates to further their education at the senior high school level.

The scholarship is dubbed "Aker Energy-GNPC Scholars Programme" but was formerly called "Hess-GNPC Scholars Programme"

The current scholarship awards bring the total number of beneficiaries in six costal districts, hosting the country’s oil and gas activities, to 800 since its inception in 2012.

The beneficiary districts in the region are; Shama, Sekondi-Takoradi, Effia-Kwesimintsim, Ahanta West, Nzema East, Ellembelle and Jomoro.

Currently, the Scholars Programme collaborates with twelve (12) partner schools in the region. These schools offer satisfactory boarding and educational facilities, good disciplinary and academic records.

They include; Ghana Secondary Technical School, Archbishop Porter Girls Senior High School, Nsein Senior High School, Nkroful Agriculture Senior High School, Fijai Senior High School, Ahantaman Senior High School, Sekondi College, St. John's Senior High School, Sekondi Nursing and Midwifery Training College, Kikam Technical Institute and St. Theresa's Vocational Institute.

Criteria for selection



Scholars are selected through an application and interview process supported by the District Education Directorate (DED).

Criteria for selection is based on BECE scores, a personal statement from prospective scholars, chosen program, family situation and gender

Shortlisted candidates are interviewed individually by a panel comprised of representatives from the District Assemblies, District Education Directorates, District Parent Teacher Association, Fishermen Association and Traditional Council.

This year, Aker Energy and GNPC received over 960 applications and 200 were selected. There were 108 females and 92 males and among the beneficiaries, two were physically challenged.

Packages

These beneficiaries apart from benefiting from the Akufo-Addo-led government's Free SHS flagship program would receive one-off items in the year.

The items include; one metal trunk, one wooden chop box, four padlocks, one student-size mattress, one pillow, two bedsheets and blanket, one packet of mosquito netting, one back-pack, one pencil/pen case and one water bottle.

According to Aker Energy-GNPC Scholars Programme, every semester, these beneficiaries will receive the following items; one packet of washing powder, six bars of washing soap, six bars of toilet soap, two toothbrushes, five rolls of toilet paper and six-packs of sanitary pads for girls.

Stationaries would be given to them and they include; twenty exercise books, textbooks on elective subjects, one calculator and pens/pencils/erasers.

Apart from the above items, these beneficiaries would receive pocket money every semester for other items considered essential to living and studying away from home such as additional toiletries or nutritious food items.

They include; milk powder, powdered chocolate drink, biscuits, canned protein (sardine, mackerel, tuna), sugar, gari and shito.

Each year, Aker Energy and GNPC would organise two career guidance seminars for the beneficiaries in their final year. These seminars would enable them to understand the subjects at the tertiary level and career choices thereby improving the overall quality of their learning experience in senior high school.

Statistics



The district breakdown of beneficiaries for 2019 are as follows; Shama (32), Sekondi-Takoradi (27), Effia-Kwesimintsim (21), Ahanta West (34), Nzema East (18), Ellembelle (28) and Jomoro (40).

Over the years, the Scholars Programme has progressively increased intake of students, see the annual intake below;

2012 (71), 2013 (100), 2014 (100), 2015 (125), 2016 (125), 2017 (125), 2018 (150) and 2019 (200).

Speaking at the colourful ceremony during this year's presentation of the awards at Best Western Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi on Friday, September 20, 2019, the General Manager of Aker Energy GH. Ltd, Jan Helge Skogen expressed happiness and said "...About a month ago, we celebrated the graduating class of scholars who had been in school for three years from 2016 to 2019. And today, I am happy to be at the inauguration of a new set of students selected to benefit from the Aker Energy-GNPC scholarship from 2019–2022".



He disclosed that "This Scholars Programme is presently the flagship social investment project of Aker Energy in partnership with GNPC. The programme started in 2012 and have to date benefitted almost 800 students".

He, therefore advised the beneficiary students to learn hard and think beyond secondary education by setting their goals on graduate and post-graduate education.

"To the students here, each of you has worked hard to pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination, but that is only the first step of your academic journey. Think beyond secondary school, by setting your goals on graduate and post-graduate education", he said.

"Last month, about 40 of the 120 beneficiaries who graduated from secondary school had 5As in 8 subjects. Indeed, it is because of such high academic performance that Aker Energy and our partners are encouraged to continue to support the scholar's programme", he added.

He noted that "I know that secondary education in Ghana is free, therefore this scholarship package is made up of materials that students in boarding schools are required to provide on their own".

"Also, I acknowledge that there are families that have financial challenges in providing these materials for their children. Therefore, Aker Energy and our partners are contributing our ‘widow’s mite’ to support families and communities to educate children in secondary school. We do this because we know the value of education to the growth and development of countries all over the world", he continued.

He reiterated Aker Energy's commitment to develop a tertiary level scholarship so that students being supported could look forward to continuing their education to the tertiary level.



"You have heard this before, but it is worth repeating that Aker Energy has plans to develop a tertiary level scholarship so that students we are supporting now can look forward to continuing their education to the tertiary level", he told the beneficiaries.

Mr Helge Skogen disclosed the company's vision to the gathering and said the company intended to build technical human resource required for the oil and gas sector.

"While in Ghana, Aker Energy intends to build the technical human resource required for the oil and gas sector. We have demonstrated this with our financial support to the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity Building Programme (AOGC) that builds the capacity of Ghanaians in technical areas (like welding, pipe-fitting, electricals, roustabouts and crane operators), support officials from the government for higher education, and support start-up companies", he stated.

"In addition, our local content plan revolves around a capacity-building model that ultimately will lead to an improved human resource base from which the oil and gas industry can draw from", he added.

The General Manager hailed the Partner Schools for remaining committed to providing a memorable educational experience for the beneficiaries since the assumption of the program.

He also thanked the Selection Panels who devoted their precious time to interview these beneficiaries.

"I would also want to thank the selection panels who spent hours interviewing hundreds of students to settle on 200", he acknowledged.

"I am informed that this year, there were over 960 students competing for the 200 slots. In addition to the academic requirements in selecting these 200 beneficiaries, we ensured there were gender, geographical and disability considerations", he added.

He pledged the company's commitment to continue to engage stakeholders to develop other projects to help these coastal Districts in the Region.

"Nana Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, In conclusion, Aker Energy looks forward to continue engagement with the leadership of traditional areas, district assemblies, civil society groups, media and Members of Parliament as we develop other CSR projects to benefit the people of the coastal districts. Aker Energy will be in Ghana for a long time, for some 30 plus years, and I believe that working with the Government of Ghana, we can collectively see an improved oil and gas sector", he emphasized.



He, therefore seized the opportunity to educate beneficiary students and their parents about Aker Energy and said "Many of you know or have heard about Aker Energy, however for those who haven’t, let me tell you a bit about the company I represent"

He stated "Aker Energy is an upstream petroleum company operating the Deepwater Tano/Cape Three Points oil block that is located offshore Ghana. We have a 50 per cent participating interest in the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points block, covering approximately 2,010 square kilometres in a prolific petroleum region approximately 70 miles offshore Ghana. Lukoil Overseas Ghana Tano Limited (38% interest), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (10% interest) and Fueltrade Limited (2%interest)".

"Aker Energy’s mission is to build the oil and gas operator of choice offshore Ghana by maturing resources in a safe, efficient and reliable manner to the mutual benefit of company partners and the people of Ghana", he continued.

He concluded that "It is technically challenging to produce oil and gas in ultra-deep waters. however, as part of the Aker group, one of the leading oil- and gas service conglomerates in the world, Aker Energy benefits from an extensive track record, technical capabilities and subsea solutions required to extract oil and gas from the Ghana continental shelf to benefit Ghana".

On her part, the Corporate Affairs Manager of GNPC, Miss Carmen Bruce Annan, pledged on behalf of the company to liaise with Aker Energy to support future beneficiaries.

She, therefore seized the opportunity to advise the beneficiary students to take their studies seriously and make their Communities very proud at the end of the three-year scholarship program.

"...Learn hard to make your community proud, be focused on your studies. Learn hard to pave way for others to benefit from this scholarship", she said.

She also advised them to stay away from bad companies and be disciplined. "You need to keep eye on your goal, you need to stay away from bad companies".

The Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Council, Nana Kobina Nketsia (V) thanked the Aker Energy and GNPC for the kind gesture offered to the students to further their education.

He also advised the beneficiary students to take learn hard to become successful citizens in the region.

On her part, the Corporate Affairs Manager of GNPC, Miss Carmen Bruce Annan, pledged on behalf of the company, to liaise with Aker Energy to support future beneficiaries.

She, therefore, seized the opportunity to advise the beneficiary students to take their studies seriously and make their communities very proud of them at the end of the three-year scholarship program.

"...Learn hard to make your community proud, be focused on your studies. Learn hard to pave way for others to benefit from this scholarship", she said.

She also advised them to stay away from bad companies and be disciplined. "You need to keep eye on your goal, you need to stay away from bad companies".

The Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Council, Nana Kobina Nketsia (V) thanked Aker Energy and GNPC for the kind gesture offered to the students to further their education.

He said they must acquire acknowledge and continue to seek whenever necessary since consciousness can only be realized through knowledge acquisition.

He also advised the beneficiary students to make good use of the knowledge been acquired in order to become successful citizens in the region.

The colourful ceremony brought 1,000 scores of people together, some were politicians, religious leaders, educationists, parents, the media among others.

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