CATEGORIZED | News

Panel: Ensuring competency isn’t a paper exercise – it’s the future

Posted on 28 January 2010

Competency isn’t just an industry buzz word; it’s the reality of our future. More and more companies are implementing competency programs – not just because they want to improve their performance or efficiency, but because those who can’t ensure the competency of their workers will get left behind in today’s highly competitive market.

“From an operator’s point of view, competency is a very, very big thing. … We have to make sure that our competencies match (contractors’) needs and their competencies match our needs,” said EnCana Oil & GasJames Thatcher, one of four participants in a panel discussion at the 2010 IADC Health, Safety, Environment & Training Conference on 27 January in Houston.

“Those companies that hire contractors as service providers are becoming more and more involved in evaluating every element of performance and determining whether they hire them or not. Every single element,” said Dr Thatcher, EnCana team lead – EH&S.

National Oilwell Varco recognized this trend several years ago and decided to implement a competency program that would help their customers assess the skill levels of NOV employees. “Competency is about being successful. If you have competent people in your organization, then you become best in class, and your customers respond to that. They want you working for them,” commented Grant Almond, NOV vice president education services.

Mr Almond suggested that a successful competency program must be relevant to the workplace at all levels and be able to produce tangible, measurable outcomes. “And then it has to be assessed by others. In other words, we’re putting our competency system out there for our customers to see so they can measure us and say, ‘Yes, you’re meeting the mark’ or ‘No, you’re not.’ ”

NOV’s program was rolled out in 2008. By the end of 2009, more than 1,000 employees were engaged in the program. “We have 11,000 employees in our division, so we’re certainly not there yet. But it’s a start,” Mr Almond said.

NOV’s competency project may be a success story, but for many in the industry, “competency” is still not a totally understood concept. “A lot of us don’t actually get it. We don’t understand what it means, how it functions,” said Gary Castell, global training manager for Nabors Drilling International.

In fact, if you sit down with employees and tell them they’re being enrolled in a competency program, more likely than not, there will be fear and push-back. “They believe it’s a paper exercise,” Mr Castell said.

“What you have to do is be able to get our message across as to why this is good, why this is positive,” Mr Castell explained, urging companies to focus on getting employee buy-in. Otherwise, he said, programs will simply crash and burn.

Highly automated rigs like Bandera Drilling’s Rig 9 require crew members who can learn new skills and apply them to problem-solving. Competence has to begin at the hiring process.

Highly automated rigs like Bandera Drilling’s Rig 9 require crew members who can learn new skills and apply them to problem-solving. Competence has to begin at the hiring process, says HSE director Anthony Zacniewski.

There are many approaches to ensuring competency, and at Bandera Drilling, HSE director Anthony Zacniewski believes that “to begin building a competent work force, you have to begin at the hiring process.” With today’s sophisticated and highly automated rigs, he said, “you can’t just pick someone off the street, bring them in there and teach them how to run it. You have to test them to see if they’re capable of learning.”

The company now uses the Thurstone Test of Mental Alertness to measure applicants’ capacity to learn new knowledge and skills and apply them to problem solving. “We want the best people we can find to fill the positions on these rigs,” he explained.

Rather than hiring roughnecks who come to work with attitude problems and don’t want to “learn new tricks,” new employees hired after passing this test are open to learning new ways to do things, accept guidance and show up on time. “Our turnover rate has dropped dramatically,” Mr Zacniewski said.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. richie Says:

    this is not rig 9 its 1 or 7 or 10

Leave a Reply

*

FEATURED MICROSITES


Recent Drilling News

  • 17 December 2014

    Saudi Aramco: Four factors for a sustainable drilling business

    Despite the modest growth in demand and drop in oil prices today, the long-term outlook for industry is healthy. “Our industry will need to add around 40 million bbl per day for new capacity...

  • 16 December 2014

    Ensco development program produces driller in 3 years

    Ensco’s Accelerated Development Program (ADP) takes a “green” individual and, within a three-year period, trains them to become a driller. In response to personnel shortages in various areas, including drilling...

  • 16 December 2014

    Saudi Aramco: ‘Industry cannot afford to lose talent when the economy is down’

    Industry is facing a human resources challenge in two areas: the ageing workforce and the shortage of skills, Mohammed Al Sellemi...

  • 16 December 2014

    Nanotechnology has potential to improve tool performance in extreme environments

    In terms of temperature stability and corrosion, tools have limitations, especially in extremely challenging drilling environments. Jothibasu Ramasamy...

  • 16 December 2014

    Colville: WCI provides forum to evaluate practical, economical advances in well control practices

    Major players throughout industry are joining forces under the Well Control Institute (WCI). The mandate of WCI is “to provide the definitive forum...

  • Read more news