The combination of unevenly distributed demographics and the recent industry downturn have resulted in an exodus of highly experienced workers from the oil and gas industry as employers constrained costs by reducing headcount. Retirement of highly skilled technical experts has further compounded these critical issues. The remaining workforce is talented, but many organizations are experiencing significant capability gaps that are driven from their workforce being inexperienced, under-trained, and lacking access to qualified mentors.

Addressing capability gaps requires an understanding of what skills are needed. New leaders may not be aware of the full spectrum of technical skills, and which skills are best applied to technical challenges. Many leaders manage cross functional teams where several team members work in different disciplines. Once appropriate skills are identified by job functions necessary to perform the work, companies inventory skills and competency levels in their organizations. Individual development programs are developed utilizing available training and development resources to target the gaps and effectively raise the level of competency within the required timeframe.

A complete program includes:

Competency modeling and assessment

Conventional classroom instruction and exercises

E-learning libraries

Virtual learning options

In-house and virtual mentoring

Business workshops and simulations

Rotational assignments and "On the Job" (OTJ) training

Consulting experts to fill gaps temporarily and allow time for staff development

Subject matter experts to provide peer reviews to ensure quality

Successful implementation of a competency based focused training and mentoring program drives companies to close the identified capability gaps and increase business performance. This presentation draws on several successfully implemented programs to demonstrate the applicability and relevance of the program's key elements leading the organization to an increase in overall workforce skill levels.

These referenced examples describe key elements of a competency management system (CMS) implemented by E&P companies globally. The CMS system includes building competency models, developing employee and supervisor assessments, and creating learning plans for employees in both technical and business support positions. The competency models will reflect models that have been approved by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, adding a global standard to the program.

By using the CMS for assessments, senior management can clearly monitor and determine its current competency levels, measure its progress in eliminating competency gaps, identify the competencies that need further development, and update individual learning plans. The expected outcome changes the dynamics of personnel development from curriculum-based training to competency-based in order to accelerate the skills that are required for the company and their specific applications.

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