Over the past 12 months, the energy sector has taken stock looking at how it can become more flexible to appeal to today’s offshore worker within the current cost constrained environment. Industry is also questioning what the training requirements will be for the roles of tomorrow.
New technologies and ways of working are developing all the time and so too are the expectations of the employee. At the core of any successful business is the ability to build and retain a skilled and motivated workforce. For some companies, keeping staff feeling fulfilled is proving much more of a challenge in today’s modern 24/7, digital society compared to previous generations.
Keeping the workforce safe is of course, the top priority for all employers and in a paradigm shift, those working in the energy sector are now able to take the classroom part of the industry’s basic survival safety training course on their phones, tablets and pcs for the first time.
Last month (November), OPITO, the global, not-for-profit skills body for the energy industry, launched the digital delivery of the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) at its annual safety and competence conference (OSCC) in Kuala Lumpur.
OPITO’s technology-led initiative addresses the sector’s call for regulated online learning with world-class credibility that delivers efficiencies and will transform the way oil and gas workers undertake safety-critical emergency response training as the sector moves towards a more digital landscape.
The digital delivery of the BOSIET suite offers an alternative to classroom learning allowing the theory to be carried out at any time, from any location and at the trainee’s own pace. It also sees extra time saved through reduced days away from work or home.
With over 150,000 people undertaking the three-day primary emergency response BOSIET training in the last year, the online option is now available as an alternative to classroom based learning. The online modules are completed remotely at a learner’s own pace and location. With only one day required for verification of learning and practical training, it offers the potential to give more than a million hours of training time each year back to industry and reduce travel and accommodation costs.
The training is widely regarded in the industry as the ‘must have’ certification to enable a worker to go offshore and includes helicopter survival, emergency first aid, sea survival, fire-fighting and lifeboat training.
The digital delivery of BOSIET is a long-term, demand led initiative to create a change in workforce training through innovation.
To ensure all the elements were covered in the most comprehensive way, OPITO worked closely with its digital partner, Atlas Knowledge, to create a content outline that separates the Standard into easily digestible segments.
Video footage, 3D modelling and animations of platforms and helicopters as well as interactive menus to support the onscreen questions enhance the online training and give learners a realistic overview of the types of situations they could find themselves in.
Up until recently, the original approach saw the course divided into 40% classroom learning and 60% practical training. The new digital version provides an interactive, online alternative to the classroom element with additional knowledge content which allows trainees to access the course at any time and from any location where they can access the internet. This is particularly useful for oil and gas personnel who are often located in remote areas.
The single portal approach also allows central booking, assessment and certification to be carried out in an easy, straightforward process.
Acknowledged as the best in the world, OPITO standards have been adopted by major international and national oil and gas companies in over 45 countries. The online Standard has been supported by more than a dozen industry champions and training provider companies around the world who helped to road-test the course as it was developed over the past year.
It’s OPITO’s intention that this sets a marker in the move toward integrated digital learning and encourages further developments by industry to improve competency and the whole learning experience. A more interactive approach is not only appealing to new entrants, but will help keep training fresh, realistic, interesting and ultimately deliver time saving benefits to everyone in the sector.
The industry has undergone a number of significant changes over the past few years including the increased use of new technology and data driven processes in order to keep the sector viable in these challenging times. This means that the skills required by the workforce are also changing.
To help identify these changes, a major in-depth labour market analysis of the oil and gas industry commenced in September and the results are due in 2018.
Led by OPITO, the work is being carried out by the Robert Gordon University’s Oil and Gas Institute in Aberdeen. The intelligence will be used to deliver an overarching plan that identifies and supports the skills requirements for the industry over the next two decades to ensure the workforce of today and tomorrow has the necessary expertise to fulfil the potential of the North Sea.
According to the latest figures available from Oil & Gas UK, in 2016 over 330,000 jobs supported oil and gas production in the region, of which around 186,000 were direct posts. The new high-level assessment will forecast the expected job roles required to service the industry by 2035 by using technology and industry trends to evaluate how some of the positions will change. Representatives from operating companies and supply chain firms from across UK businesses are taking part in the data gathering exercise.
This is an important project for the UK as it is aimed at helping the industry to successfully develop a skilled, well-trained workforce to meet the needs of the next generation of activity in the UKCS.
Once we have the results, we will work with the Scottish Government through SDS and with the UK Government through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to ensure alignment with government objectives. It’s going to be another very productive and important year ahead for the sector.