By Joanne Liou, Associate Editor, and Chris Cantu, Editorial Assistant
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 and maintenance, Ensco recently decided that it could no longer rely on a limited pool to recruit from and rolled out ADP for drillers, electricians and mechanics. “The idea of this program is to produce key talent for the company through the development of high-potential but under-qualified or out-of-industry personnel,” Paula Hall, Manager HR Middle East and Africa for Ensco, said. Ms Hall participated on a panel addressing workforce attraction and retention at the 2014 IADC Critical Issues Middle East Conference in Dubai on 9 December.
Ensco has launched ADP in two business units so far – North/South America and Europe Mediterranean – and intends to begin the program in the Middle East/Africa next year. Candidates who meet strict criteria complete various phases and assessments, and are assigned mentors and coaches.
On the maintenance side, “we anticipate we can take somebody in a two-year period and have them ready to be standalone electricians or mechanics,” Ms Hall noted. This approach, Ms Hall said, allows Ensco to take individuals who are new to the organization and introduce them to Ensco’s values and culture. “We also find that these individuals are more loyal to Ensco. They have shown the investment that we have placed in them, and they are less likely to leave and go over to one of our competitors.”
ADP is one way Ensco is addressing the significantly higher turnover of local hires compared to expats in Saudi Arabia. In the last four years, Ensco’s operations in Saudi Arabia have grown significantly – manhours have increased from 1 million to 2.1 million, and Ensco increased its rig count in the region by three to a total of nine rigs. The growth has challenged Ensco to attract and retain experienced personnel. In addition to ADP, Ensco participates in the Saudi Petroleum Services Polytechnic (SPSP) Rig Man Program.
The three-year program is designed to fast track select Saudi candidates for Category A – supervisory-level – positions. In the first year, individuals either learn or improve their English. In the second year, training begins in selected fields, such as drilling, crane operation, mechanical, electrical or welding. The third year focuses on on-the-job training. The first class graduated in December 2014, with a retention rate of 56%. Out of the original 84 students, 47 students completed and graduated the program, according to Ms Hall.
In the latter part of 2014, Ensco began to turn away from third-party contractor personnel and shift to direct hire. By the end of December, there will not be any third-party contracted personnel on an Ensco rig in Saudi, Ms Hall stated. “Going to direct hire, we have control of who is selected to go onboard one of Ensco’s rigs… These individuals feel a part of Ensco. They feel like a member of Ensco’s family.” Ensco is already observing the benefits of direct hire, as turnover has been decreasing. “We anticipate to go from a 46% turnover to 20%.”