Personal Trainersby Lionel Mok on May 13, 2014
As the region’s refining and petrochemicals sector grows in scale and complexity, so too has the need for highly specialised employees.
A larger pool of companies in the region are learning to be more focused on how they define job competencies and requirements, and thus the criteria used to select training programmes that meet their staffing needs.
Andy Gibbins, MENA vice president at the Euro Petroleum Consultants says that there is currently a large gap between the capabilities of recent graduates and what companies actually need but he also believes that this presents a large opportunity for training providers who are able to react quickly.
“Companies are starting to develop more focused training programmes to fill that gap, so instead of picking a catalogue of training programmes and throwing people in with the hope that a programme works, they want to measure the value of that training through competency assessments,” he muses. This training approach by companies seems to be more effective as courses become geared towards getting employees to the desired skill level more quickly.
There is a pull to get employees to international standards. “I think personally the training companies are playing catch up; the organisations are looking hard at themselves and changing fast,” he explains. “So it will be the companies that are unable to provide innovative training packages that capitalise on the small discrepancies between university classrooms and operator requirements that will thrive.”
At the time of writing, the EPC itself was providing a programme to tackle the challenges with employee shift management. “Fatigue has been cited in a lot of major incident investigations,” says Gibbins, citing the Texas City incident which saw a refinery blow up, leading to the death of 15 people and injuring about 170.
Topics like this are unlikely to receive such attention in the university classroom, but will constantly need addressing for the next generations to come.