Houston Community College (HCC) is establishing the HCC Global Oil and Gas Drilling Training Center to provide drilling contractors with retainable, promotable and safety-conscious entry-level rig crews. The facility will feature a rig safety and skills laboratory called RIG-ONE. It will replicate the work environment for offshore roustabouts/onshore roughnecks, and the training curriculum will be aligned with KSAs being developed by IADC. The KSA project, which will provide a foundation for the global industry to demonstrate the qualifications of its personnel, is slated for completion later this year.
“The drilling industry is faced with the challenge to bring 24,000 new-hires on board within the next few years,” Diamond Offshore Drilling CEO and president Larry Dickerson said. “Diamond Offshore and other drilling contractors have worked with HCC education experts over the past year to create a program that produces better-trained candidates for the drilling industry of the future.” Mr Dickerson served as IADC chairman in 2003 and was named IADC Contractor of the Year in 2009.
RIG-ONE will be located at HCC’s Northeast Campus, where a two-week, hands-on program will provide trainees with experience working around cranes, forklifts and air tuggers to acquire skills in safe pipe and cargo handling. Other skill areas include material handling, tank cleaning, confined space entry, routine maintenance and hand tool skills. Basic first aid, firefighting, station bills and muster, lock-out/tag-out and other safety procedures, such as helicopter underwater evacuation training and safe driving, also will be integrated.
Dr Lee Hunt, former IADC president and strategic adviser of RIG-ONE, noted that elements of the program includes courses accredited by IADC. “The Big Crew Change presents tremendous opportunities between IADC and not just HCC but also other community colleges. In particular, I believe that WADI and RIG-ONE are a natural partnership,” Dr Hunt said. WADI refers to the IADC Workforce Attraction and Development Initiative, a project that unites industry and educational entities to work in tandem to attract and train the next generation. Click here to read more.
Besides recruiting from returning military and the general workforce, HCC is targeting public high schools. The goal, Dr Hunt stressed, is not just to get graduating students offshore to be roustabouts but to get them into the petroleum industry and perhaps into engineering. For example, a dual-credit program at HCC allows high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit for certain math and sciences courses.
The ultimate goal is to attract career-oriented candidates into the petroleum industry. “We want to recruit candidates who think of this as more than a job, to see it as a career they can build and a learning and educational opportunity,” Dr Hunt continued. “We hope to contribute to not only a quantity solution for the personnel gap but also to the quality and leadership of the new crew.”
Groundbreaking for the center is scheduled for the fall, and initial training classes are expected to begin by mid-January, according to Dr Hunt. Future expansion will include advanced training in specialty skills areas, such as electronics, mechanics and hydraulics or other drilling positions, such as floorhand, assistant driller and driller. A two-year drilling associate degree is also being discussed.
“The RIG-ONE experience is a visionary collaboration of industry experts and college educators,” said Renee Byas, HCC acting chancellor. “We are excited about the industry being able to offer thousands of new jobs to people right here in Houston, Texas – the energy capital of the world.”
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