Within the ever increasing collaborative environment of the oil and gas industry, there has been significant growth in the need for professionals to be able to operate across industry-standard definitions of disciplines. Influences, such as economic cycles, growth in other industries, and population growth have created a growing demand for young professionals to assume responsibilities and management duties at a rapid pace. While educational advances within the university setting are making efforts to close the gap necessary to supplement this demand, the majority of the responsibility to develop competent employees lies with the employer.
Employers within the industry are beginning to realize and act on the need for structured training and development programs to help ensure employees are adequately prepared and familiar with multiple concepts of business, even across historically set up discipline divisions. This is particularly true within technical disciplines, because there is a great demand for these technical employees to fulfill roles and responsibilities that push them beyond their technical training and typical roles. Moreover, the rapid increase in the use of technology necessary to operate in the unconventional reservoir setting has created a situation of dependency on these technical employees to take on managerial and strategic business-focused roles.
Historically, technical employees within the oil and gas industry have operated within specific niches according to their education and/or experience. However, an increase in multidisciplinary project management as it relates to asset development suggests the need for technical employees to develop themselves across discipline boundaries. Training and development programs that cover all aspects, from geology and geophysics, drilling, completions, production, and asset management, are essential to prepare these young professionals for the responsibilities within this setting. In addition to broader technical training, soft skills training to adequately prepare technical employees to express difficult concepts coherently and effectively is paramount to bridging the gap between the technical and nontechnical portions of the industry.
This paper outlines suggested advances that can be made to effectively train and develop technical employees in this evolving setting during entry level training and more specifically mid-career professional development. A description of historical training methods in the industry, current trends of training technical employees within a certain discipline, and the developing understanding of the importance of multidisciplinary technical collaboration are also discussed.