Iraq is taking a radically fresh approach towards developing local talent. Instead of setting high quotas for employing local staff, Iraq has established a mandatory annual investment through a Training, Technology Transfer and Scholarship Fund (TTTSF) as a condition of awarding oil and gas contracts. This money targets building broader Iraqi capability in the industry as opposed to an individual company's staff. This approach overcomes the economic struggle between early project spending versus developing the essential local skillpool required for sustained project success - essentially fuelling the talent-engine at the start of the season.

Shell Iraq Petroleum Development (SIPD) is paving the way by committing a portion of its annual TTTSF investment towards rolling out the first part of its Wells graduate training programme in its Majnoon operation in Southern Iraq. Dedicated recruitment and training staff are developing local Iraqi talent through a two-year programme culminating in a standardised assessment by Shell's Learning and Development team in The Netherlands. A pilot programme was started in February 2012 and the programme has been extremely successful to date. A second intake started in October 2012 and futher intakes are planned for 2013 and 2014.

This programme builds industry capacity in Iraq and is the key to SIPD's Wells succession plan. If a similar approach to early development of local talent were replicated across the industry in Iraq, it stands to revolutionise Iraq as a regional talent hub.

This paper outlines the main challenges faced in rolling out a structured Wells graduate training programme in the early development of the Majnoon field and describes how the challenges were overcome. An overview of the progam's success to date, current status and a forward-looking summary of the SIPD Wells Team's Iraqisation effort is presented.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.