A few years ago, Nurul Syafiqah Najamuddin was offered a chance to pursue a diploma course in civil engineering at a university in Peninsular Malaysia, but she had to turn it down due to financial constraints.
Luckily for the science stream student from Tawau, she received a similar opportunity from the Kimanis Petroleum Training Centre (KTC) which enabled her to continue her studies without having to worry so much about the cost.
"If I had accepted the course at the university, I would have needed additional funds for the flights and other expenses.
"But it is different at KTC, it is free, and we were even given an allowance. Furthermore, the Industrial Instrumentation & Control System course was also something that I enjoyed studying," she said.
Nurul Syafiqah was among 20 trainees of the 2019 intake for the Industrial Instrumentation & Control System course who were recently celebrated at a convocation ceremony at the Sabah International Convention Centre here. Nurul Syafiqah was among only four women that passed through screenings, from more than 1,000 applications.
Nurul Syafiqah, who was the Best Graduate Award recipient, also said that she has been offered to further her studies for 18 months at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum PETRONAS (INSTEP) in Terengganu which, upon completion, will increase her chances of landing a job with PETRONAS.
As for Kenny Alvin Chin, 22, from Kota Belud, getting the opportunity to receive a diploma at KTC was something that he had been hoping for.
The only child from a farming family at Kampung Narinang said he came to know about the course at KTC as a few of the villagers who worked in oil and gas-related industries had informed him about the opening.
"My observation on how they work encouraged me to venture into the same career as them. I believe the job has a future. Furthermore, I like doing things on-site rather than being in the office.
"I am lucky that there were relatives that had helped me, including financially, from the application process right up to enrolment into the training centre.
"Throughout our training, we were given a place to stay and received RM400 monthly allowance for food. To me, it is enough as the food prices at the centre were reasonable.
"When we went for the practical sessions, the allowance was also increased to RM700," said Kenny, whose mother is the only breadwinner after his father's passing in 2017.
Another batchmate, Eronika Emelia Jumain from Nabawan, said she was proud to be the first child in the family to further her studies after the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination.
As her parents work as farmers, the fourth out of five children said her elder siblings could not have the same opportunity as her due to financial constraints.
"In my case, it was my father who saw information about the new enrolment for the course on social media.
"After that, he asked me to apply for it as my examination results fulfilled the criteria. I never thought that I would be chosen."
The trio were among 194 graduates produced by KTC since its establishment in 2011.
KTC marked another significant milestone last week in further supporting technical capability development among youth in Sabah.
Established by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) in 2011, KTC is currently managed by INSTEP under PETRONAS Technical Training Sdn Bhd (PTTSB) and is the first institution in Sabah to be recognised as an accredited centre by the Skills Development department under the Human Resources ministry.
It offers a three-year full-time diploma level training in Industrial Instrumentation & Control System – Monitoring & Control (Level 4), Malaysian Skills Diploma (DKM).
The training programme aims to produce skilled workers with the necessary qualifications for them to contribute and gain benefits from the imperative agenda of East Malaysia Development Plan under Sabah-Sarawak Integrated Oil & Gas Projects (SSIOGP).
The graduates from KTC were also identified as one of the potential feeders for INSTEP's Technical Energy Enrichment Programme (TEP).
PETRONAS Technical Training Sdn Bhd (PTTSB) chief executive officer Idris Ibrahim said KTC has gone a long way as part of PETRONAS' social impact programme in Sabah to support the state's human capital development.
"KTC is committed to preparing Sabahan talents with essential skills and qualifications for them to contribute towards enriching the state and the country's energy workforce."
Idris also said that close to 100 per cent of the graduates have been employed in the oil and gas sector, as well as other industries.
Over the years, PETRONAS has continuously contributed to human capital development and enriching the nation's energy workforce through the inception of learning institutions including Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), Akademi Laut Malaysia (ALAM) and INSTEP.