Hess Corporation, a leading independent global energy company and the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) has launched a new social responsibility programme in Ghana dubbed the ?Scholars Programme?.

The Scholars Programme is to support 71 students from Esiama, Jomoro and Nzema East Districts in the Western Region who are attending Senior High School, Vocational School as well as Nursing Training School.

The scholarship covers the entire cost of tuition, administrative fees, books, kits, uniforms as well as pocket-money — the programme will be done annually with particular emphasis? on girls? education and vocational studies, Mr. Thomas Manu, the Director of GNPC in charge of operations, has said.

At the launch of the programme at Esiama in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, he explained that Hess and GNPC have a common purpose and interest in working together to empower the youth of identified communities, by providing them with an education that will offer more career choices and a brighter future.

?It is my hope that this Scholars Programme will enable us to work together in the communities for many years to come — the success of this programme will leave a positive, indelible impression in the minds of the people,? he said. ?

Sandra Gentile, Hess Ghana Country Manager, said the programme will provide new opportunities for the students — providing them with the foundation, necessary for a rewarding career, which in turn will support further development of the local economy.

She added that the selected students will be enrolled in nine identified institutions — the students and partner institutions will be regularly monitored by representatives of the programme to optimise each student?s academic and personal development.

?Hess began exploration at Deep water Tano/Cape Three Points in 2006, and is currently drilling its fourth exploration well,? she said.

Mr. Armah Kofi Buah, the Deputy Energy Minister, lauded Hess and GNPC for such an initiative — there is a need to build the capacity and develop skills of the people to meet requirements for certain jobs.

?We need to prepare our people to meet the demand of the growing oil industry — as we build the oil and gas industry, let us train our people to acquire the needed skills to enable them have the opportunity of working in the industry,? he said.

Mr. Lee Ocran, the Minister of Education, added that the scholarship is an opportunity for the students to build themselves up and also take their studies seriously.

By Juliet AGUIAR, Esiama

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