Story and picture by GABRIEL FITO
MORE than 60 Grade 12 students from the Hela region, Southern Highlands province, are in Port Moresby to register an association to fight for the PNG LNG project developer to give resource owners priority when recruiting workers.
Richard Agiru, a member of the group who was in Wewak to collect his higher school certificate in Passam National High School this week, told The National that students from the resource-rich area should automatically be given priority in any trainee positions they apply for regardless of whether or not they have met the requirement.
Mr Agiru raised the concern over the recent advertisement for production operations and maintenance trainee positions by JDA Wokman Limited on behalf of Esso Highlands Limited which asked for only students that studied English, mathematics A and science subjects to apply.
“That is really unfair to all Grade 12 Hela students who took social science. They will definitely miss out on the recruitment which closes on Tuesday.
“As resource owners, we must be given priority, whether we have studied science. It does not matter because we are the legitimate resource owners. These criteria they are using may cover students from outside provinces but special consideration must be given to Hela students,” he said.
He said Hela students, led by Stephen Lano, were working round the clock to rally all resource owners to step into the LNG training programme.
“We will not rest until we are heard. Once the association is registered, we will serve our notices outlining our grievances to Governor Anderson Agiru and other relevant authorities.
“Our leaders must support us so that resource owners do not become spectators on their own land,” Mr Agiru said.