North-east training company Polaris Learning teamed up with a US firm as it aims to get a foothold in the American oil and gas industry.
Oldmeldrum based Polaris Learning has formed a joint venture with US-based Safety Management Systems to deliver a range of training courses to onshore and offshore workers, mainly in Texas and Louisiana.
The company said it hopes to secure a “vital foothold in the lucrative American market” with the move.
The international expansion has been supported by Scottish Development International (SDI)
Safety Management Systems, part of Acadian Companies, already has training centres in Houston and Louisiana which have welcomed more than 134,000 students since 2011.
The link-up with Polaris Learning will allow these learners to complete qualifications remotely at the click of a button, through the Scottish firm’s online and blended learning portal.
Polaris staff will provide additional support through webinars, video conferencing and email.
Courses initially on offer will include assessor, verifier and leadership management training along with a range of practical and work-based certificates, aimed mainly at large drilling and marine companies. It is expected that additional services, particularly around competency management, will be introduced to US learners as the relationship develops.
Keith Adam, managing director at Polaris Learning, that since the 2011 explosion and blowout at the Deepwater Horizon at the Macondo prospect there has been a heavier emphasis on a rigid safety framework.
Adam said: “Compared to the North Sea, America is a growing market. The longer term projections are for them to recover to something like 2million barrels per day.
“Whereas the North Sea, UK sector, is contracting.”
“There’s a more complex legislative framework in the States, especially after the Macondo incident.
“We know that the need is there.”
He added: “This link-up is an important first step and we expect to secure a number of key clients for our range of training courses within the first year of this collaboration. To begin with, the scope of our agreement will cover the US only but we are hopeful this could lead to further opportunities in Canada, Mexico and South America.”
Safety Management Systems (SMS), headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, is one of the largest health, safety, environmental, medical, security and training service companies in the United States.
Adam said their remote learning offers “competitive” and “flexible” learning for offshore workers and builds on experience built up in the North Sea and further afield.
He said: “We’ve worked internationally for quite a long time, building up our experience primarily in the North Sea and then exporting that out with the squeeze on the industry in the last couple of years.
“We’ve learned how to make these systems work for companies.”