Tackling the training and competency challenge

06 July 2020

As with most things in our industry, the challenges faced in training & competency haven’t come about by chance. Here, we look at some of the historical factors that have contributed to the current environment.

The history

From the earliest years of the industry, through to the 1970s, fierce competition between a small number of dominant oil companies resulted in a culture of long-term employee training, development and retention.

As National Oil Companies grew more powerful and following decades of increasing market instability, in 1990 most major oil companies turned their attention inward focusing solely on core activities. This movement became known as “Drilling in the 90s” and resulted in a significant increase in the number of subcontractors involved in day-to-day operations.

Up until this point, the industry had essentially relied on major IOCs for almost all technical expertise. Their industrial training programmes and religious commitment from employees resulted in a large percentage of the industry receiving a very strong grounding and industry knowledge.

With the introduction of “Drilling in the 90s” responsibility transferred away from the IOC in many activities, and in some cases training was caught in the crossfire.

Current challenges

In the years since, the provision of technical training has mostly fallen to specialist providers. This has limited accessibility, increased costs and reduced the number of people in the sector able to access comprehensive technical training programmes.

With fewer companies & people training, and in an industry that continues to grow and globalise, we find ourselves in a precarious position. If training continues to be treated this way, as an expensive “necessary evil”, we risk putting lives, operations and the environment at more and more risk.

What needs to change

As an industry, we must recognise the problems faced by many professionals seeking out comprehensive and long-term technical training.

In order to tackle this challenge head-on, we must change the way we think about training provision, making it vastly more accessible, engaging and affordable.

This is our goal with Norwell EDGE where we are putting years of technical upstream knowledge onto a leading eLearning platform that is accessible and affordable in any country around the world.