China to send its oil students

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2014

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China could soon be sending its oil and gas students to Taranaki to learn from the region's experts.

Witt is collaborating with the Guangdong University of Petrochemical Technology, (Gupt), to offer its students a NZQA level three training scheme course, providing pupils with a basic understanding of the "knowledge and skills required of process operators in the oil, gas and chemical processing industries".

The overseas initiative is a first for Witt.

Gupt was established in 1954 as the Guangdong Petrochemical College but a merger with Maoming Education College saw the name change in 2000. The training will be offered under Witt's flagship engineering, oil and gas department and was submitted to NZQA for approval on June 23.

A formal agreement has yet to be signed between the two institutes and Witt expects to hear back from NZQA in six weeks time.

Witt industry development executive director Glen West said the institute was "very excited" about the possibilities this initiative could bring to the region.

"It aligns well with the Government agenda to increase international education."

Witt aims to run its first intake in August, catering up to 17 pupils who will each pay $14,000 in fees.

Students will be introduced to the petrochemical industry, emergency response and safe working methodology, as well as site visits.

The scheme is estimated to bring the institute a minimum revenue of $140,000 this year.

Witt plans to run the programme twice a year, one at each semester, in 2015.

"However, both parties would discuss the first offering upon completion to ensure it meets desired outcomes before committing further."

The students will head back to China once their 18 weeks is over, he said.

West said the connection between the two institutes was made by Dr George Hooper, a senior consultant at WorleyParsons, through the relationships and partnerships he has with off-shore universities.

"He brought them to New Zealand and took them to some universities throughout the country and met with us for a day [October 2013]."

West went to China for a week-long trip in March last year to visit the university, which boasts 30,000 students.

"In Chinese terms, it's a village," West said.

"They currently have no collaboration or partnership with other institutes in New Zealand so they're excited about the opportunity as well."

He also said the university has a "passion and a real understanding" of the oil and gas industry.

Graduates will return to China with an understanding of the petrochemical and hydrocarbon processing industries, to be able to apply personal and organisational safety procedures in the workplace, as well as apply hazard identification and risk assessment procedures in the workplace.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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