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“It takes 3 to 8 years for a company to turn a new employee into a petroleum professional.” So says Ford Brett, CEO of PetroSkills, a competency-based training company for the exploration and production (E&P) industry.

At Avilar, we make a point to monitor learning and competency industry reports, analysis, trends, and tools. Every day, we’re asked to help guide client companies through their competency management strategies, tools, and processes. We truly enjoy harnessing best practices for the best possible workforce development, talent management, and business outcomes.

Still, I’m always inspired to hear about real-world examples of what effective competency and learning management programs can do. When I stumbled across an engaging article from an unlikely source, the Journal of Petroleum Technology, I was reminded of just that – and why we’re all in this together.

As Mr. Brett indicates, competent employees don’t happen overnight. The article shares a three-part story of the E&P industry:

  1. Challenging Demographics: Dubbed the “Big Crew Change” in the late 1990s, the E&P industry identified an impending departure of experienced professionals from the workforce – with a dearth of younger professionals on hand to take up the torch. They knew they needed to start planning right away to shape the skills of their future workforce.
  2. Learning and Training Plan: Expanding and embracing the use of learning-, competency-, and knowledge-management tools, the industry focused on getting younger workers up to speed faster. Best practices, such as blended learning, mentor support, and knowledge capture, emerged to support the transition.
  3. Commitment to Learning: Even though the “Big Crew Change” is effectively behind them, the industry remains committed to delivering the right mix of foundational and just-in-time training to current, future, and transient workers. Classroom training, eLearning, and mentoring will likely support microlearning and other learning experiences for long-term success as the industry navigates future market shifts.

Hats off to the E&P industry for working together through an anticipated market reality by harnessing effective learning and competency management assets and best practices! It’s a never-ending process, with a needed industry commitment that learning will be there how and when employees need it. Still, with many fewer gray heads than 20 years ago, the E&P industry has survived the Big Crew Change and is on the right path for the future.

How about you? Does your organization have a learning or competency management success? We’d love to hear your story and share it in our blog. Just contact us to get started.