Industry council launched to improve competency assurance for oil and gas workers

Major engineering companies in the oil and gas sector have joined forces to improve competency assurance across the supply chain community.

Leaders from companies including Aker Solutions, Bilfinger Salamis, Petrofac, Stork, Wood and Worley have signed an industry charter in which they agree to mandate the Connected Competence programme as a pre-requisite for employment with their companies, effective 1 April 2020.

Connected Competence aims to standardise and assure competence requirements for the contractor workforce. It was created by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), together with major contractors in the upstream oil and gas sector, to address the inefficiencies and workforce inflexibility caused by operators differing demands for base level technical competence.

The companies are part of a new Industry Council to improve competency assurance across the supply chain community. In addition to the founding members, the Council meeting was also attended by senior representatives from the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland, Oil & Gas UK, Oil & Gas Authority and North Sea Operators.

The Council has pledged to work together to ensure the industry certifies the technical competence of its workforce in a consistent manner, reducing barriers to the timely deployment of workers.

Enhanced productivity and safety

Chris Claydon, CEO of ECITB, said: "This competence assurance initiative has the potential to deliver a step change in productivity and safety for the oil and gas sector as well as the wider engineering construction industry. The benefits are numerous, not least in helping to mobilise skilled workers to the projects that need them. This includes supporting the transfer of workers to other energy sectors when they are required, thereby helping to retain skills within the wider engineering and construction industries."

Craig Shanaghey, president of operations at Wood and Council chair, said: “For too long, the oil and gas industry has suffered from the lack of a common approach to competence assurance, resulting in unnecessary costs and severely inhibiting the mobility of our workforce. Faced with the need to mobilise thousands of additional workers next year and ensuring a strong safety culture is maintained, the Connected Competence programme is critical to the success of the supply chain and will ensure the wider industry benefits from a competent and skilled workforce required to achieve Roadmap2035.”

Under the Connected Competence programme, workers undertake a cycle of practical tests designed to prove ongoing technical competence. By passing the tests, workers are able to show they have the necessary skills recognised through a standard model, removing the need for retesting or retraining.

The competency passport will also enable workers to more easily transfer to other energy sectors which experience peak demands similar to oil and gas, helping to build a more resilient, mobile and sustainable contractor workforce.

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