Kevin Franklin, CEO of 3t Energy Group (3t), the global training powerhouse, speaks to OGV about how their combination of training and technology is creating positive transformation across the energy sector.
Training, Technology and Transformation – the cornerstones of 3t and its world-leading businesses; AIS Survivex, Drilling Systems, 3t Transform, UCT and joint venture 3t EnerMech. Boasting a truly global customer base, 3t operates across 60 countries, is represented by 17 nationalities, and has offices and training centres located in the UK, North and South America, and the Middle East. 3t proudly offers the highest-impact learning for safety-critical industries including energy, renewables, marine, construction, gas, electric and water.
3t is in an exciting period of growth as a Group, expanding its portfolio of training businesses, diversifying and strengthening its product offerings enhanced with leading edge technology, and investing in its senior team internationally. Leaders across the wider energy sector for training and learning, what makes 3t different is the combination of its portfolio of businesses and expert-led divisions, with no single player in the marketplace offering programmes tailored to suit any requirement, or for any size and scale, quite like 3t does.
3t’s training business, AIS Survivex, is the UK’s largest within the oil and gas, wind, and power industries, and a major player globally, and with the recent acquisition in 2022 of UCT, is also making a significant impact in the wider energy and utilities sectors including gas, electric and water. Now with training centres in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, and London, as well as international joint-ventures and consulted services in the Middle East, North and South America, and beyond, 3t is on a mission to deliver the world’s best training to the global energy industry.
Pair this with award-winning, cutting-edge technology offered through two further businesses within the 3t family – the world’s number one advanced drilling simulator business, Drilling Systems, and learning technology software experts, 3t Transform – 3t has the ability to offer the highest-impact learning and training solutions to safety-critical industries throughout the world.
“The combination of our total portfolio offering is what really sets us apart in the industry. We have many competitors across all of our business streams, but none that can meet the scale of what we can deliver across our combined offering. What we can create for customers at 3t is impressive and it’s why our biggest customers come to us again and again, because we have the best training and the best centres to train them in, award-winning systems and technology, and the people expertise and knowledge under our
“We continue to grow our team and this year has marked some key appointments to support our global bases. People are vital to our offering and the wealth of experience they bring from multi-discipline and multi-cultural projects reinforces the strength of the Group across our businesses.”
At 3t, they proudly state that their people are their greatest asset, and with the significant growth has also come a significant investment in industry talent.
3t has appointed Deborah Yeats as Training and Competence Director early this year, spearheading this new workstream bringing with her knowledge of the industry spanning back to the mid-1980s; Ian Hunt based in the MENA region as Vice President - Sales joined in 2022 and has grown his team and the impact of the Group in the region significantly over the past year, with further expansion on the horizon; and Martin Hottass joined the senior leadership team last year, too, as Corporate Development Director strategically supporting on new ventures, apprenticeships and funded learning. A recent appointment and a further new role for 3t, Dominic Zanre joins with a focus on the Group’s innovative blended learning solutions for major assets following the recent success of an award-winning onboarding and induction project in collaboration with bp.
“The strength in our team and our ability to develop our own employees that support our growth and vision for the future of 3t is vital to our continued expansion. We are creating learning solutions for our clients that aren’t a one-size-fits-all, that truly push the boundaries and achieve even the most complex brief, that are transformational for workforces operating in safety-critical roles and industries around the world. Many of them are industry-first. We can achieve this because our team is passionate about creating a better future for the industries we work in, where many of them have worked in these roles themselves and know what is really needed to create safe, competent, and efficient workforces – and just as important, a positive impact on their own careers and lives.”
3t’s core values have always revolved around developing a safer, smarter, and more efficient workforce. To do this, they are constantly challenging the norm when it comes to learning and striving for better outcomes for people and businesses. Through 3t’s digital arm of the business, including Drilling Systems and 3t Transform, there’s a continued focus on creating learning solutions that improve learning retention, that are highly engaging and that beat knowledge fade. First-class examples of this can be seen through the adoption and imbedding of 3t’s virtual reality (VR) learning programmes by global customers including many national oil companies throughout the world, and also through the recent launch of Knowledge Coach, a games-based learning app that is proven to improve knowledge retention by an impressive 70%. Drilling Systems is a world-renowned name in the oil and gas industry, with many customers referencing its drilling simulation technology as the most impactful way to ensure that people working in the field are safe, giving them the ability to have their worst days in their training centre, rather than in a real life situation.
Up-skilling, re-skilling and diversifying workforces are also a core offering for 3t with the ability to take expertise to the furthest flung locations around the world. Through its Workforce Solutions division within 3t and with the use of learning technologies, they can provide bespoke, fit-for-purpose competence and training programmes that are immersed into customer cultures, with the regulations and compliance requirements of the industry and region in mind at all times.
“The needs of the workforce constantly evolve and wherever we are working around the world, it is essential the preferred learning of that demographic and culture is captured and that we work in harmony with them.
A blended solution is a powerful tool which combines both the in-person and more traditional means of learning with digital elements. Our recent award-win at the Offshore Achievement Awards for our training solution as part of bp’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) project in Mauritania and Senegal is a prime example of this. We created a digital twin of the FPSO asset before it was even built and created a bespoke onboarding and induction programme for Operations and Maintenance crews that considered where the workforces were physically around the world, what they needed to know in advance to make operations safe and efficient, whilst creating a solution that achieved every business objective set including cost effectiveness and timing. It was a landmark project for bp and showcased what we do best – bringing multiple capabilities from across our Group of businesses together to create a solution that combined our expertise across training, competence, digital twin, and learning technologies.”
Allowing personnel to train in fully immersive, hyper-realistic environments means that mistakes can be made in safe and controlled environments, with the tools, training, and expertise to practice project-relevant techniques and improve their abilities in advance. This provides the same in-depth experience needed to prepare delegates for taking part in real-life operations, but without the unnecessary risk that is associated with high hazard environments across the energy industry.
Training through the Transition
With the energy transition being a significant focus for many of 3t’s clients, the drive to ensure workforces are ready to move into new roles to support a net zero future is vital, with 3t leading the way in a number of areas.
“We are part of an industry-first project as part of the North Sea Transition Deal (NSTD), led by OPITO to create a ‘Skills Passport’ for cross-recognition for comparable skill sets that will support employers and skills bodies to map workforces to new roles cross-sector. The skills gap and the re-skilling and up-skilling of workforces are noted as being one of the greatest challenges that must be met to support the energy transition, so ensuring that world-class training and learning is available to enable this is crucial. This is where our digital expertise come into play, as we are creating a solution for the industry that will help to reduce duplication of training and learning where it can, and ultimately help the industry save time and money on moving skilled workers into the right kind of roles that are needed to support the vision. It’s an exciting project for 3t to be taking the lead on, and we see a huge opportunity for this in other countries throughout the world.”
Indeed beyond the energy industry, there are huge labour and skills shortages that are cited to impact the UK’s national infrastructure pipeline delivery, with a drive for talented and skilled professionals as demand continues
“We believe that the passport solution we are creating for OPITO can also be diversified across further industry skills sectors and bodies, and can support the future of the wider energy and safety-critical industries. Through the expertise we have within 3t Transform, the architecture in which it is built has fantastic scalability and we can see a real need for this type of solution in the market. When you combine this with our wider expertise and knowledge across this sector through our training business, UCT, we know that we can make a significant positive impact to the future of this sector in the coming years.”
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