Why digital training needs to be the next big thing in Oil & Gas

05 June 2020
Tackling The Skills Crisis – How Can Digital Learning Help? Featured Image

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"In recent years collaboration, operational excellence, innovation and digital transformation have all been key initiatives in oil & gas. Now as the industry prepares for a seismic shift to ensure we remain relevant and sustainable in the future training will become the next big focus,"  Mike Adams, Co-founder of Norwell EDGE.

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Innovation has always been at the heart of the oil and gas industry. From pioneering developments in robotics, directional drilling, flow technology and dynamic positioning, the industry is now embracing the benefits of digitisation.

Yet, when it comes to training, little has changed in decades. Ad hoc, classroom-based learning remains the norm for many parts of the industry, and while some companies have dipped a toe into digital training, few have embraced comprehensive programmes.

Why does that matter?

There are fundamental changes happening across our industry. The energy transition requires new skills to ensure our industry is fit for purpose in the future. Emerging oil and gas regions rightly want to be less reliant on the support of western oil & gas companies and be more self-sufficient, while there is an overall desire from the industry to drive-up standards globally and become safer, more sustainable and more inclusive.

Digital training could be a key catalyst in helping the industry achieve the major shift that’s needed to drive up standards and deliver wider culture change. It is a proven, modern method of delivering world-class technical training to large numbers of professionals around the world. Unlike classroom training which is only available to a select few, the number of people who can access digital courses is limitless.

Providing our global workforce with the skills and competencies that not only equip them to work more safely and more efficiently today but that provides them with the knowledge to be an active player in our future industry is central to the sustainability of the oil and gas industry.

A joint report by OPITO and Robert Gordon University’s Oil and Gas Institute found that on the UKCS alone, by 2035 approximately 45,000 people will be employed in roles that don’t currently exist. These new roles will require a different set of skills and competences. The report highlights the need to find new ways of reskilling our current workforce and consider how we compete with other industries for future talent.

As the oil and gas industry rolls out digital transformation programmes across its operational activity, it’s surprising that training continues to be overlooked. Investing in wider digitisation without investing in the comprehensive training and professional development of staff will limit the potential gains.

With the changes that are underway, our industry is likely to look very different by 2035. Those companies who invest in their people and modern approaches to training are more likely to weather the transformation and come through stronger than ever compared to those who continue to bury their heads in the sand.