Monday, January 3, 2011

Taking Safety Training to Azerbaijan

We all know the old conundrum. You need experience to get a job, but you have to have a job to get experience. Ruslan Jafarov couldn't find a job in the HSE (Health, Safety and Environmental) industry in Azerbaijan. He graduated from Azerbaijan State Oil Academy in 2007 with a B.S. in HSE. After serving his required time in the military, he looked for a job as an HSE Specialist. There were none available, and the jobs that would use his training had very low salaries. So Ruslan did what any enterprising young man would do--he found a way to use his skills and make a decent wage at the same time.

Photo courtesy of

Before going the university, Ruslan worked for Halliburton as a transportation coordinator teaching safe driving skills to expatriate employees and their families. This time he got a job with British Petroleum (BP) driving Silverio Garcia, an engineer with the company. And Ruslan's luck changed for the better, because Silverio Garcia and his wife Debbie had a plan. They saw that Ruslan had a lot of potential, and they could make a difference.

Photo courtesy of Silverio Garcia.

Ruslan Jafarov is highly self-motivated. Plus, he is intelligent, enthusiastic, and really wants to help his family. Shortly after meeting him, the Garcia's started working with him to try and help him reach his goal of obtaining a job in the HSE industry. Silverio spent days on the computer doing research, and Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and Texas A&M University kept coming up. So early in 2010, he and Ruslan came to visit our facilities. After speaking with Mark Jackson and Nikki Winder, and getting a tour of the grounds, Ruslan said, "Before coming here, Mr. Garcia had told me that I needed to think big, that the school was big, that the program was big and that the opportunity was big; but I never could have imagined that it was THIS BIG!" He enrolled that day.

Ruslan arrived back in College Station at the end of March and started the three month TEEX Fire Recruit Academy on April 5. And Ruslan is not afraid of hard work. He continued taking classes one after another, only taking a week or two off, until he finished on November 19. One of his favorite classes was the OIL200 Fresh Water Oil Spill Control class—because it was hands-on, and he got to learn by doing. "It was hard, but it was fun," he commented.


Ruslan was able to complete four Certified Safety and Health Official TM (CSHO) certificates in a short amount of time: Oil & Gas and Petrochemical, Oil & Gas and Petrochemical – Drilling and Well Services, Oil & Gas and Petrochemical – Pipeline, and Oil & Gas and Petrochemical - Refinery. In fact, he is among a small group of people who have four CSHOs. TEEX was the perfect place to give Ruslan the professional training that would help him be an asset to any company.

Photo courtesy of

After completing his last class, Ruslan headed for Azerbaijan to interview with some companies in the Oil and Petroleum field. We are looking forward to great things from him. 

TEEX offers the CSHO program to safety professionals in private industry and government agencies. Since the program was initiated in 1998, more than 1,500 safety professionals have earned the TEEX CSHO certificate, with an additional 1,000 working toward completion of the certificate program. The TEEX CSHO is recognized by the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists and now earns 18 hours of college credit towards a fully accredited, affordable online degree program.

TEEX is one of the largest providers of workforce and emergency response training in the nation. A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX provides training, exercises and technical assistance to more than 194,000 people each year from all 50 states, five U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 56 countries.