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Site observes new opportunities in resurgent oil and gas sector
The growth of the global oil and gas industry, particularly in liquefied natural gas and coal seam gas sectors, has resulted in the demand for skilled technicians and professionals.
Site Skills Training, the Australian firm with a flagship training campus at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, approaches this opportunity with innovation and enthusiasm.
Site Skills has designed and fabricated a range of Safe Live Process Plants (SLPP) to provide Immersive Training and assessment programs with minimal disruption to O&G operations.
These SLPPs are pressurized training environments that mimic gas and liquid separation, using safe mediums like water and air.
They are modularly designed with four major functional areas: 1) Main Process Circuit 2) Hot Oil Circuit 3) Structural Platforms; and 4) Field Instrumentation and Bulk Material.
Philippine Resources Journal recently toured the 30-hectare campus and met with Vernon Allan “Vern” Wills — Founder, Managing Director and CEO of Site Group International, which counts Site Skills Training among its eight companies – and Brett McPhee, General Manager of the company’s flagship training campus.
Through the impressive Clark facility, Site Skills Training can deliver Australian-accredited, client-customized comprehensive training and assessment programs to trainees from all major industries.
It is complete with workspaces, classrooms, and a full range of accommodation and recreation facilities for over 1,000 individuals.
It also boasts several Immersive Training Environments, including the SLPP purposefully built for the energy sector, backed by a handpicked team of certified trainers, assessors, and consultants and about 170 on-campus staff.
“SLPP is a training prop, it relies on the industry knowledge of our subject matter experts,” Wills told the Journal.
“It’s about building competency frameworks, following frameworks and profiles for what a worker should look like and what skills he should have, and combine that with what skill sets are required for a workforce to have.”
The process plant and the programs surround it are about behavioral best practices, coaching behaviors, and coaching knowledge, so people are practicing and identifying what “good” looks like, and therefore what they need to be, Wills added.
“We’re looking at what the profile of a worker should look like, we look at the competency and skills they require, and you coach them, not with trainers per se but with SMEx (subject matter experts),” the Site founder said.
Thus, the company recruits trainers and people who come “live” from industry, “not live from the classroom,” Wills stresses. They are industry experts who want to share their knowledge and competencies for the candidate workers.
“Their industry experience must be relevant, they need to be current and relevant, and they must be in a position where what they’re talking about is really happening outside today,” he added.
The purpose of the SLPP, McPhee notes, is to create a platform that replicates what happens in real life, except it doesn’t have the risks of live hydrocarbons such as those being pumped up from the ground or under the sea in most oil platforms and rigs across the globe.
“So, you are still pumping an inert fluid going through the system at 6 bar, you still create an environment where the SLPP would develop its own ‘issues’ — where it has its own problems, but where we can introduce problems to it, which workers need to solve, to show their competency,” the Clark campus General Manager adds.
“That could be anybody from a junior tech to a graduating engineer and above, as you’re trying to influence the way they behave on a worksite through this safe Live Process Plant,” he says.
McPhee notes that Site Skills spells training “with a small ‘t’ – it really is about competency coaching, bringing the competency of your workers to a stage where they’re not only safe and productive, this program will bring them out as junior techs coming out as 70 to 75 percent competent.”
Of course, “the only way you get to 100 percent competent is working in the real world, working over a long period under supervision of subject matter experts or men in the business for a long while,” he adds.
How does a company enroll for SLPP training? Wills says: “Typically, a company such as Exxon will look at what their workforce needs are, and they will work with us to identify candidates. We’ll put them through attitude, aptitude and psychometric testings, [to identify] people suitable for what they’re looking to undertake, and we’ll coach them going forward.”
“Because there’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into the front end [of training], it means your success rate is extremely high for candidates,” he notes.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t aspire for 100 percent completion from the candidates, if we’ve correctly selected them.” Site could also fabricate an SLPP for a client at Clark, Wills says.
“We can assemble it, make sure it’s functional, pack it in 40-foot containers, and ship it to where it’s required. For example, we shipped one to Papua New Guinea in six weeks.”
What Site Skills Training is really looking to doing, he adds, is mapping their various customers, mapping what their requirements are for their workforce, then mapping those skill sets back to the profiles of the candidates as they’re training.
That’s also a reason why Site Skills Training built its first significant, major campus at Clark, to show industry what it can do and how they do it.
“We’ve been earning our stripes, and we can show [clients] that we’re not only talking the talk, we’re walking the walk,” adds Wills, who notes that Site Skills Training has already run some 13,500 courses through the facility at Clark for workers of the Malampaya gas-to-power project, which is run jointly by Shell, Chevron, and the Philippine National Oil Company.
The Clark campus also has other Immersive Training Environments, including the first simulated underground mine in Asia built in partnership with OceanaGold, and a power turbine training center built for industrial giant General Electric (Fieldcore).
“This is evidence of us doing what we do, and we are translating that to other countries such as PNG, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. We’re increasing our reach,” Wills says.