07 February 2015, Abuja – THE Executive secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, Mr. Femi Ajayi has said that the federal government local content is aimed at growing the aviation, oil and gas industry in the country and also to discourage capital flights.
Speaking on Monday in Lagos at the official presentation of letters of employment to 15 cadet helicopter pilots, four female and 11 males trained by the PTDF at the headquarters of Caverton Helicopter at the Murtala Muhhammed Airport, Ikeja, Ajayi stated that the federal government is also encouraging Nigerian companies to be part of the local content development drive which is real for the aviation, oil and gas industry.
He said by employing the 15 helicopter pilots, Caverton Helicopters is helping to ensure that the local content undertaken by the PTDF is perfected and completed, stressing that the local content initiative is visible in all aspects of the Nigerian economy.
The PTDF boss said the organisation has become an agency in the vanguard of mainstreaming the private sector initiative of the government, as the PTDF is also proud to be part of youth empowerment.
According to him, the 15 pilots are now role models in the Nigerian society which is an indication that every family can aspire to produce a pilot.
“This is a story of transformation that torches the lives of young men and ladies from different parts of the country which is also a collaboration between the government and the private sector. The training of the pilots was is in line with the transformation agenda of Mr. President which can be seen and felt,” he said.
Ajayi stated that with this initiative, more people will be trained in line with Goodluck Jonathan vision 20-20-20 aimed at expanding more capacities for the country, stressing that the industry needs more pilots and fixed wings helicopter pilots.
He applauded Caverton Helicopters for the local content drive which is also helping to reverse the issue of capital flights.
“There is no limit the young pilots can contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy in going forward,” he said.
In his opening remarks, the managing director of Caverton Helicopters, Captain Josiah Choms noted that PTDF is doing its outmost best as an intervention agency striving for excellence.
He hinted that the industry needs a strong public sector to collaborate with private sector like Caverton, adding that the company is a real indigenous company that has changed the face of oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Choms advised the young pilots to exploit the opportunities with clear sense, openness and to learn more about the oil and gas industry, maintaining that with more trainings, the young pilots will rise to the level of captains, and probably becoming future managing directors of Caverton .
He thanked PTDF for given Caverton the unique opportunity to be part of the public sector and private sector collaboration , explaining that this is how the public sector and private can work together.
“We are yet to fill the gap in the shortage of helicopter pilots in the country, we have pilots but not those that are qualified in the oil and gas industry in the country, but with what PTDF is doing, we will have more pilots for the oil and gas industry”, Captain Choms affirmed.
He said with the collaboration with the government, the opportunities for more pilots are expanding.
Speaking also, head of industry collaboration Unit PTDF, Timpre Wolo, a lawyer, said the selection was a very tedious exercise, taking into consideration gender as the agency is gender sensitive.
On the newly employed pilots, she said none of them have experience in aviation, but passion for the job which the cost of training was on the higher side.
Wolo disclosed that the scholarship was awarded to 20 people but at the end 15 people qualified as helicopter pilots.
Speaking on behalf of the new pilots, Emmanuel Ocheme from Benue state thanked the federal government, management of PTDF and Caverton Helicopters for the opportunity.
He said in the beginning of their training, they were full of fears and doubts when they started, but are confidence today they are now employed by Caverton Helicopters. In the same vein, a female pilot, Francisca Onuma, also thanked the management of PTDF for the opportunity.