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Tackling the skills crisis: digital training becoming a must-have

Tackling the skills crisis: digital training becoming a must-have

By Mike Adams, Co-founder, Norwell EDGE


There’s been a sharp change in the UK’s domestic energy landscape as a result of the war in Ukraine and political events closer to home. With operators being urged to increase production, our industry is once again facing a critical shortage of skilled workers. Changing how we think about training is central to tackling the challenge head-on.

A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlighted the limitations in options for replacing Russian crude and other oil products while, despite the recent windfall tax, the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnston has said that the UK needs greater self-sufficiency in its energy sources – last year the UK met only 40% of its gas demand from domestic production.

Now, with a licensing round for new North Sea oil and gas projects planned to launch in the autumn and a new taskforce providing bespoke support to new developments, operators are under pressure to recruit new personnel and develop their existing teams to meet these new demands. 

After an exodus of experienced workers during lockdown, the energy industry faces an uphill struggle to find a sustainable solution to the skills crisis. The requirements for technical oil and gas training is not without its challenges – it requires a flexible, continuous approach that optimises knowledge retention while minimising operational disruption.

A digital-first approach that combines e-learning with other digital tools such as 3D training scenarios, online routine assessment, and traditional steps such as mentoring and onsite hands-on training, is the most effective way to ensure teams can maintain the highest competency standards while working in high-risk environments. Auditable, high quality digital training can be easily scaled to respond to sudden changes in needs. The pandemic saw a significant acceleration of the energy industry’s digital transformation – and embracing digital learning holds the key to addressing the pressing skills shortage, making it vastly more accessible, engaging and affordable.

E-learning platforms, such as Norwell EDGE, can be instantly scaled up, from small teams to enterprise-wide, providing access to a suite of learning material and modules that can be assigned to provide technical knowledge specific to job role, or ensure a wide understanding of safety-critical concepts.

This approach allows employers to ramp up and deliver training to new or existing staff in a consistent and cost-effective manner, removing reliance upon time-consuming and expensive onshore training days that have traditionally been the sector’s go-to method of training provision.

With organisations continually welcoming new employees, ensuring learning is delivered effectively will be central to training choices. Digital training methods are proven to boost retention of knowledge learned within courses by more than 50%. And by providing continuous, bite-sized content, information is reinforced and remembered simply by sharing it in different ways, with no overload.

At Norwell EDGE, we have long felt that making upstream technical training more affordable and accessible is a necessity – now, scalability of the right training material is a critical element of response to the latest twist in Industry’s skills crisis.

Norwell EDGE technical e-learning modules are built around OEUK standards and allow employers to track, audit and assess individual learning, to ensure key information has been understood and retained. Providing continuous training of this kind to the entire workforce, not only new recruits or those deemed ‘business critical’ at a particular time is critical to withstanding unexpected ups and downs, while giving workers a platform to learn skills that can be applied around the world and operate safely in a high-risk sector.

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE


Published: 18-07-2022

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