By GABRIEL LAHOC
A TRAINEES’ selection process held at the Lae International Hotel, Morobe province, by recruitment agency JDA Wokman for the LNG project was forced to be suspended by Lae-based tertiary students yesterday, citing lack of priority given to students from the impact area as the main reason.
About 40 Hela students from the University of Technology and National Polytechnic Institute in Lae, who had initially applied along with other applicants from around the country, fronted up at around midday
and made known their stance to consultant Mark Mathison, who was heading the JDA Wokman team in conducting the aptitude test.
President of Unitech Hela Students Association Hela Kayabe and Dickson Kunini, president of the National Polytechnic Institute Hela Students Association, presented a set of conditions demanding that they be reviewed and adhered to by the LNG project developers.
The Hela students claimed as unfair that only four of them were short-listed and selected to sit for the aptitude test, while the rest of the candidates, numbering more than 50, were from elsewhere in PNG.
The group, which also included female students, insisted that their applications be reconsidered as top priority regardless of set conditions, and that Hela students must make up 70% of trainees selected while other Papua New Guineans make up the remaining 30%.
“Hela people and our neighbours from other project impact areas should be considered and given priority in recruitments and training,” Mr Kayabe said.
“The Government and the developers promised that to us during the signing of the LBSA in Hides and Kokopo and, as the rightful resource owners, we will not back down,” Mr Kunini said in support of his colleagues.
Other short-listed applicants from elsewhere in PNG, who turned up at the hotel for the aptitude test, were kept waiting while the Hela students made their grievances known.