Lone Star College receives first accreditation, offering 8-week lab-based Introduction to Oil and Gas course
By Amy Rose, Director-External Relations, IADC
In 2012, members of the Lone Star College Industry Advisory Board identified a need for a training program that could prepare entry-level, new-hire candidates for the rigorous job requirements of working on a rig.
Fast forward to 2016, and that small seed of an idea has sprouted to become the IADC Gateway accreditation program.
After recognizing that many members of its advisory board were also members of IADC, Lone Star approached the association with the idea of developing course curriculums for entry-level oil and gas industry candidates. In late 2012, the IADC Workforce Development Committee initiated the Workforce Attraction and Development Initiative (WADI) to bring together industry partners and more than 50 institutions of higher learning to develop course curriculums.
The result of four years of work is Gateway. As envisioned, Gateway will eventually comprise a suite of specialized training programs. The Introduction to Oil and Gas is the first available course and aims to help companies connect with colleges, training providers and other organizations to attract, screen, hire, train and promote onshore and offshore oil and gas workers worldwide.
“During the initial phases of development of Gateway, we were anticipating the retirement of baby boomers and the resulting need to gear up to supply new personnel,” said Brenda Kelly, IADC Vice
President, Accreditation and Credentialing. “The needs of our industry have changed quite a bit since 2012. The current depressed market conditions mean that hiring new personnel is either at the bottom of companies’ to-do lists or entirely unfeasible. However, history tells us that the industry will rebound, and we also know that many previously in the industry will not return. At that time, there will be a critical need for new personnel, and Gateway will be a valuable tool to quickly identify candidates with the training that enables them to safely perform their required job duties.”
Lone Star College, headquartered in Houston, recently became the first college accredited to deliver training through the IADC Gateway accreditation program.
Linda Head, Associate Vice Chancellor, Lone Star College, was instrumental in the development of the program. “I personally spent a lot of time with IADC’s member companies on this program. The commitment by members of IADC to spend hours of time developing and designing the 360 technical behavioral competencies for this program was amazing. They showed up every week, either in person or on the phone, and spent time in between editing and modifying the nine different areas that were part of this project. The team I was involved with was very committed and involved, and I’m proud of what we accomplished.”
The Introduction to Oil and Gas course offers a standard baseline curriculum comprising RigPass, WellSharp awareness-level well control, a general introduction to the industry, behavioral training (human factors), a module on rig life, technical math, rigging basics, electrical and fluid safety, industrial practices and considerable hands-on training. The program is designed to better prepare new employees for working on a rig, thereby helping companies improve safety culture in the field while reducing turnover rates.
“The Introduction to Oil and Gas course has some amazing features. It asks colleges to interview the candidates to assess their interest and ability to embrace and enjoy the lifestyle of this industry. They screen for aptitudes and physical requirements. This screening helps ensure that candidates are hirable, and work keys are applied to see where they have gaps in knowledge before they enter the Gateway program. With Gateway, we really are building a safety culture from the ground up,” Dr Kelly said. “Once a candidate has gone through all pre-screening and been accepted by the program, the coursework really prepares an individual to have success both in their career and in their life work balance.”
Lone Star has trained more than 300 people since becoming accredited and offers an eight-week program delivered at its University Park campus in Houston. Its trainers have been recruited from industry, and all training is lab-based. Lone Star has partnered locally with Baker Hughes to provide training resources and has purchased 18 acres in Tomball, Texas, just outside of Houston, to develop a facility that will house a rig specifically for training purposes.
“Our students receive an overview of how their jobs will fit into the overall big picture. Part of that is a demonstration. Our students go to an onshore rig. In a classroom, in our technical labs, you aren’t able to see the size and scale of the equipment and see the size of the deck,” Ms Head noted. “We are purchasing visual simulation software so they can also ‘experience’ an offshore rig, as well. We believe that this hands-on training ensures that our students are well-rounded at the completion of the course.”
“Gateway will ultimately be a broader program based on what the industry identifies as the next critical area of training,” Dr Kelly added. “I would personally like to encourage IADC members to reach out to their local community college and work with them to partner in this process and join Gateway so that they can be a readily available, reliable, quality partner and provider of new employees. Based on feedback, Gateway has been incredibly well received. The work and collaboration by the dedicated group of industry and community college experts to get to this point has been inspiring, and IADC looks forward to continued collaboration in the future.” DC
Gateway is a trademark of IADC.