16 Feb 2022
5 Years of Ascending
To celebrate our 5th anniversary we interviewed our founding partner, Andrew Schnitzer da Silva, who gave us his perspective on Ascending journey and his insight into the next few years.
Q: How would you describe these 5 years of Ascending?
A: Certainly, if I had to choose one word for it, the word would be exciting. It has been a journey with lots of ups and downs and managing uncertainty and difficult times both economically and socially in the countries we operate in. But what I do believe to be the only certainty out of all this is that we know how to manage these times and how to make this journey profitable to Ascending, to its partners, to its customers and to the people it represents. And that is evident in our consistent growth throughout these last 4 years, in our expansion and in us becoming a recognized company and brand in the countries in which we operate.
Q: How do you position Ascending in the market?
A: Well, five years is already quite a long time so we’re not a new company anymore. The countries in which we operate we’ve been able to consolidate ourselves as a household brand in the sectors we operate in, namely mining, oil & gas and marine. We are a recognized contender in these markets. We do believe that our local knowledge and the way that we approach local content laws and we help our international partners and clients in navigating in local regulations and requirements position ourselves almost as a subject matter expert in knowing how to best manage workforces, knowing how to identify the correct training suites that people need and that also check the boxes with local training requirements. That’s why we do training with international certifications but also with local certifications through partnerships with local training bodies. I believe that we are positioning ourselves not just as another service provider in the three sectors in which we operate in but as one that brings added value and I think that the market starts to recognize it. We are requested for workforce management because the clients know that we understand the local labour laws and that we bring something extra to the table when we offer our services. The clients come to us for our training programmes because they know that they are not only internationally certified, but they have recognition in the countries in which these trainings are delivered. And in the marine sector, we bring the knowledge and the flexibility to manage a vessel, being one of three angolan companies operating as a vessel manager in Angola. And that shows exactly what I’ve been saying, we are a local company, but we are bound by international rules and certifications. So we give the companies the best of both worlds.
Q: What are the big challenges for the next 5 years?
A: Not only to consolidate ourselves in the countries we operate in, to gain a stable position in these countries and to become closer to our valued partners and clients but also to establish ourselves as an international company which is exactly the journey that we embarked on in the second semester of last year by opening up in three different geographies, Morocco, Guyana and Houston. So, I believe that five years ago we were a local company, today we are a regional company and in five years’ time I hope we can call ourselves an international company.
Q: What do you see as the main opportunities for Guyana and Morocco?
A: There’s a huge economic boost in Morocco and the government is highly invested in taking its services to the next level, namely in becoming one of the greatest ports of the Mediterranean. They have invested hugely not only in one of the biggest ports in Europe which is the Tanger Port but they are building two new ports and that brings lots of opportunities in the marine sector. Also, due to its proximity to Europe there are lots of opportunities in renewable energies and in sustainable economies and we believe that opportunities can arise not only with ways to manage opportunities for workforce with recycling but also by upscaling our training offering into the new trades such as solar andhydraulic types of power. That can be one of the big challenges and one of the big ways to move forward inside Morocco.
Guyana is obviously an oil & gas country. It is sitting on the biggest oil & gas find of the last 25 years, it hasworld bank projections of GDP growth above 25% for the next year.. It is highly invested in creating infrastructures to explore this huge oil find.. So here we do believe that we also can bring our expertise to the table and do what we know how to do, which is providing workforce, training and marine services to the oil & gas industry. So, our focus in Guyana will be more in the lines of our tradicional offering to just consolidate ourselves as a positive solution inside the oil & gas and the marine sector.
Q: This month we will be attending the energy conference in Guyana, and as the main theme “Charting a Sustainable Energy Future”. How do you see Ascending can contribute to a more sustainable energy sector?
A: We have training centres that are geared to serve the oil & gas sector, however we are starting to work on our offering and broaden it to incorporate other types of trades and other types of solutions. And I think that is the quickest way that Ascending can adapt to changing times and to the global energy and environmental requirements of adapting to the new needs. That is where I think we can be of use to these companies because we are starting to train and to requalify our workers that are traditionally focused and trained for oil & gas but we are adapting their skill set to be open to business for the sustainable future of energy.