The phrase “failure is not an option” is often used to convey the importance of the task at hand. However, when you take the time to think about it, failure is not an option that someone would consciously choose, but rather the potential result when the person or team is not fully prepared to execute the mission.
In the oil and gas industry, the risk of failure has increased significantly due to the large number of retirements among the thousands of aging geoscientists, petroleum engineers and oil field workers hired before the 1980s oil bust and recruitment freeze. This rate of turnover has necessitated corporations to revisit their models for recruitment and training to better assimilate new workers to the field – fast. Because learning on the job is not a practical, or safe, option for oil rigs and platforms, the pressure to make changes in training practices is escalating with every additional retirement.
The potential danger lies not just in the fact that these professionals are leaving the industry, but that they’re taking with them the important knowledge and experience acquired through years of working in the field. This industry exodus is creating a challenging labor and knowledge gap that cannot be solved through the recruitment of new personnel alone. The issue oil and gas companies face is not only replacing employees, but expediting new employees’ speed to proficiency. How can companies quickly transform new workers into experts reliable enough to replace those who’ve been in the field for 20 years?
The simple answer to this question is training. Oil and gas operators know they must get ahead of the curve now. In a rapidly changing environment with greater demands and fewer resources, finding more efficient ways to deliver training — such as increasing that which is web-based — can be a game changer. Bringing the learning delivery system to the learner, in fact, makes it possible to accelerate proficiency while also making training more effective.
Oil and gas companies understand better than anyone that they can’t take on additional risks, especially those caused by unqualified workers. If they do, the possibility for failure moves from an undesirable outcome to a near certainty.