A journey to theEDGE

13 November 2019

The EDGE journey started in 1996 with the creation of the first Norwell graduate training programme. Norwell had been founded 7 years before and was starting to grow, with more engineers joining our ranks we needed a structured way to train them from graduates – providing a foundation of knowledge in all parts of the upstream value chain.

This commitment to our staff remained firm in the years following as we worked in locations around the world from the UK to Congo and the US to India. In 2010 we stood side by side with colleagues around the world as we watched the Deepwater Horizon disaster unfold. This disaster affected everyone in the industry and we were honoured to be called as expert witnesses during the court case.

As part of the UK response to the disaster, Oil & Gas UK issued a comprehensive training & competency guideline for upstream personnel. We strongly believed this is what was needed to change the attitude and approach to upstream training by much of the industry and our teams immediately got to work expanding the existing Norwell training to meet these new guidelines.

This process took a number of years as a wide range of topics were developed alongside assessments and exams. We moved our material online to allow easy access for staff overseas and the more we discussed this initiative with friends, colleagues and clients the more we realised the need for it elsewhere.

In 2016 we took some time to look at what was currently being offered to staff of major companies worldwide, both at the awareness level (to all upstream staff) and advanced levels (to engineering teams). What we found was limited opportunity, old technology and restricted in many cases to externally provided courses costing companies thousands of dollars a week per employee.

Our research determined the following main areas needed to be addressed:

1.   Rapidly bring affordable training opportunities to the market;

2.   Focus on accessibility both in terms of market penetration and ease of long-term access to material;

3.   Expand the adoption of eLearning to allow both of these two areas to succeed;

4.   Stop the fierce protection of our information, welcoming the idea that if everyone in the industry improves we will all become more capable, profitable and productive.

A belief in these key areas put us firmly on the road to developing EDGE. Following a further 12 months working with experts in the field of academia, eLearning and software development we built EDGE from the ground up.

To overcome the main issues highlighted in our research we built EDGE with the following key features:

Accessible

·     We made EDGE online, highly engaging and dynamic eLearning – just as good on your work PC or Smartphone

Open

·     We want knowledge to stay with people as they progress, move jobs and move countries. Every piece of work completed on EDGE will stay with a user for life, accessible on their device 24/7.

Affordable

·     But how do we make this affordable?

·     EDGE is designed to train tens of thousands of people around the world. Access is PAYG by subscription only, with no one locked into a contract and companies only paying for the users who sign in.

·     At the individual level we wanted to make it so that for anyone in the world not getting the training support they need at work, EDGE is somewhere they can turn...and actually afford it.

·     How do you determine “affordability” in every market, from the UK to Uganda? We looked at Netflix, a service active in 190 countries and essentially adopted the same structure. Individuals can subscribe for less than $20/month, never locked into a contract and they can leave and return whenever they want.

We hope that by building EDGE to be as accessible, open and affordable as possible more people than ever before will be able to access comprehensive upstream training, the world over.