To fully benefit from their natural resources Gulf states need to develop the skills of their indigenous populations and employ them at all levels in industry. Competence based learning is a means to effectively develop a competent workforce comprised of individuals who can consistently perform work activities to the standards required of the industry. The drilling and well service sector, through the efforts of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) and the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO), amongst others, is developing standards that are appropriate to the Gulf region.

This paper discusses some of the hurdles facing the implementation of competence-based learning and the optimum development of the national workforce. It concludes with recommendations for the way forward and highlights the potential benefits, to Governments, National Oil Companies and drilling and well service sector companies, of initiating competence based learning both at the workplace and in their training programmes.

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