By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor
Vantage Drilling is planning to roll out the IADC SkillSTICK technology for its entire rig fleet after implementing the device for the Titanium Explorer, a drillship recently deployed to the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The SkillSTICK delivers training materials to employees anywhere in the world, regardless of Internet access. Similar to a flash drive, it can be used offline for training from preloaded e-learning courses, and it stores employee profiles, progress and competencies.
“The Titanium Explorer provided a perfect opportunity to launch the SkillSTICK because all GOM contractors are now required to have an accredited competency program in place,” said Dave Weatherly, vice president, QHSE for Vantage. “Since the device is endorsed by IADC, the association that provides the accreditation, we felt it was a good fit.” The tool interfaces with PetroEd, a provider of e-learning courses for the oil and gas industry, and Skills XP, a software database system that retains Vantage Drilling’s documents and records.
For the Titanium Explorer, all employees onboard were given the SkillSTICK, to be used by plugging the device into a computer. Even if Internet connectivity is lost or if the bandwidth is low, workers can continue using the device. When the Internet reconnects, all information on the SkillSTICK is replicated through the PetroEd link to the Skills XP software to update a worker’s profile and progress. “The system is very innovative in that it allows the employee to do his part at one end, while everything the company needs is being done in the background without him seeing it,” Mr Weatherly said. Employees also can take the device home and use it at their convenience.
Tailoring the tool
A key feature of the SkillSTICK is that it can be tailored to an individual company’s needs, he continued. “Each company has to look at its operations and determine how the device can best be used. We have five main elements to our training program, and this is just one of the tools in our toolbox. After completing the SkillSTICK course, employees receive on-the-job training and must demonstrate they can physically do the job required.”
Employees can see all the e-learning materials but can only take the courses relevant to their job functions. For example, a floorman can take only courses specific to his job. Once he has successfully completed that course, he is eligible to move to the next level.
Since the SkillSTICKs are distributed to each employee, they may not be ideal for training of local crews, where turnover is often high, Mr Weatherly added. Those workers are typically trained with an online learning course on the rig but can be given the device after they are actually hired. Vantage Drilling has distributed several hundred SkillSTICKs to its employees and has put most of the pertinent data in Skills XP for the rest of the fleet for eventual systemwide rollout. “The SkillSTICKs are great for the training side of the safety and are good references for workers out on the rig, especially when Internet connections are not available,” said Billy Wooten, safety officer for Vantage.
The company also has found the SkillSTICK to be a cost-efficient way to induct new employees. “In the past, we’ve brought employees in for PowerPoint training sessions, which are expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient,” Mr Weatherly said. “But we now see the SkillSTICK as a fantastic opportunity to induct people into the company and use it as a platform for further training.”
With PetroEd, Vantage has developed company-specific modules that cover mission, core values, expectations, company polices and safety measures. Employees must complete those modules and answer a questionnaire demonstrating their knowledge in these areas before they can move forward with any specific training programs.