Even with its push for improved diversity and inclusion policies, the oil and gas industry continues to face an uphill battle in gaining a greater gender and ethnicity balance. Getting this right is central to the long-term success of the global industry.
Yet, it will take more than developing new policy. A wholescale shift in culture and approach is required. Ensuring equal and affordable access to world-class training is an important pillar in this wider change.
Training often happens on the job, either through arranged programmes or mentorship, but equally through dedicated courses which often involves time away from work. These traditional methods have struggled to become fully inclusive, where the risk that both conscious and unconscious bias in the mentoring and training selection process will continue to hamper progress.
In other regions, particularly emerging oil and gas economies, national oil companies continue to rely on western companies for technical support with many international firms regarding local content legislation as a hurdle to be overcome rather than an opportunity to build capacity.
However, companies are embracing digital solutions five times faster today than before the pandemic. This rapid acceleration provides a huge opportunity to level the playing field. Digital training is a more democratic solution, allowing courses to be rolled out company-wide, accessed 24/7 on any device, and allowing collaboration across companies and borders.
The days of being one of the lucky few chosen for training are coming to an end. Affordable online solutions remove many of the challenges for employers, while at the same time giving employees equal opportunity. In this way, a female engineer in Uganda can get access to the same skills development as her counterpart in Aberdeen. Improving access to online training among the global oil and gas industry’s workforce will provide people from minority groups with equal opportunity to develop the critical skills and competencies needed to aid career progression whether that is in Aberdeen, working for another IOC or supporting the development of an emerging energy region.
And, supporting people from minority groups to succeed in the oil and gas industry starts early. At Norwell EDGE we have forged partnerships with university engineering departments around the world including in Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria as well as in Houston. We have also partnered with the Association for Black and Ethnic Minorities (AFBE) to develop an interactive e-learning game aimed to encourage school children to consider an engineering career.
While there’s no silver bullet, lowering the cost of training and increasing its accessibility has an important role in breaking down barriers to learning and career progression. If we can provide wide-scale training at a drastically reduced cost, we will see many more people able to participate in the workforce.
Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE.