How has the institute positioned itself as a leading training center for the oil industry in the country?
ITP has been serving the oil sector for more than 15 years. Originally, we were established as a branch of a Colombian entity that was in the Ecuadorian market to help with the certification processes for oil companies. Soon after, we established the institute as a 100% Ecuadorian organization, chiefly focused on international certifications from the International Association of Drilling Contractors, based in Houston. The objective was to fill the gap in certification courses for firms based in Ecuador, both for the oil industry and its workforce. There have been interesting changes in the way we operate. We have shifted away from hiring only international professionals to teach the courses and have found highly skilled Ecuadorian professionals in the local market. I started to encourage Ecuadorian engineers to teach our courses so they could share their knowledge and expertise with the workforce in the oil industry, especially blue-collar workers. Currently, we specialize in courses related to fluids, production, welding, security, health, risk management, and fire control, just to name a few. We have worked for 70% of the companies in the oil industry in Ecuador, including Schlumberger and CNPC, which are leaders in the sector. We have an agreement with a leading company in the sector, Petroskills. We create international synergies with trendsetting institutions to better train oil companies. Our process works by training someone in a company who can then provide knowledge across the workforce. We are now working to expand our footprint to the industrial and mining sectors.
How do new oil projects in the country affect demand for skilled workers?
Ecuador is working to attract investment into the oil sector, with recent rounds of contracts for drilling, and more to come. These investments create the need for more local workers, and foreign companies that enter the country want to focus on this core business. That is where we come in. We provide a certified workforce for them to run their business. We have about 150 instructors focusing on security and health, for example. They also include in their courses information about working at Ecuador's high altitude. We have been holding as many as 20 courses at the same time across the country. We even hold them in the drilling fields, where we can bring our technicians, drivers, and equipment. At our main facility, we also have three simulators where people come every week to virtually and safely experience the possible situations that happen at a drilling unit. As the oil industry is undergoing rapid digitalization, we also include these trends in our courses.
What are your expansion plans?
After the oil price fell some years ago, we realized we should not rely on just one sector, which creates vulnerability. We see opportunities now in using our expertise to create training and certification courses for similar industries, such as mining and industrial production. To this end, Tenro Industrial Training was established to meet the demands for the increasing number of projects in mining and industry. We are confident that new projects set to start in Ecuador will require skilled labor. We want to contribute to the birth of a responsible mining sector, which is why we have started establishing agreements with Peruvian and Chilean companies to offer courses in mining security.