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Bibby Offshore bridges the skills gap by investing in people

In order to grow and maintain a high quality workforce, it is essential to put the time and effort into implementing schemes that help to train individuals and hone their skills.

This is an important aspect that Aberdeen-based subsea installation contractor Bibby Offshore is dedicated to addressing through its many training and development initiatives.

With one of its core values being to realise the talent of its people, Bibby Offshore has focused its efforts on introducing schemes that encourage individuals to meet their potential.

In 2011, the Bibby Offshore Academy was launched to deliver the training and development of its staff.

As part of the Academy, the company introduced a highly successful Graduate Training Scheme. Six graduates began the two year programme which gives them the chance to experience all major departments in the company undertake a trip offshore and allow them to fully understand how the business operates.

The company has also identified the increasing need for experienced personnel with diving, subsea and offshore construction knowledge.

 Due to the positive outcomes of the Academy it was recognised by Bibby Offshore that, as well as training new graduates, there was the need to introduce a scheme that would help qualified engineers to enter the oil and gas industry.

This led to the implementation of the Engineer Conversion Programme 2012, with Bibby Offshore starting the conversion process by putting eight engineers through a four week conversion course in September 2012. The company believed that by introducing the scheme it would allow talented and skilled individuals, who wanted to explore a different vocational field, to enhance their job prospects and begin a new career path with Bibby Offshore. There is a significant pool of talent from various backgrounds that would fit perfectly into the oil and gas industry and Bibby Offshore is encouraging that talent to investigate the different opportunities available to them within the company.

The rigorous recruitment process of the final five subsea engineers and three field engineers took place over three months to ensure the ideal candidates were chosen. The chosen engineers were hired as Bibby Offshore permanent staff.

Duncan Milne, subsea project engineer; one of the successful candidates who attended the course, said: “During the conversion course I learnt a huge amount about the company and the oil & gas sector in general. I previously worked as a structural engineer in the construction industry, but I really wanted to broaden my horizons and see what other opportunities were out there for someone with my skills and interests.

“Bibby Offshore really takes the time to help people learn and progress - this scheme has definitely helped me look to the future and point me in the direction of how I want to progress my career with Bibby Offshore.”

Through talks, demonstrations, off-site and department visits and presentations, the course ensured the delegates: gained the ability to recognise and build on their existing skills and competences, were able to identify further learning gaps and address them, identified the roles and responsibilities of the departments, understood the organisational structure of the company and had insights into key technical elements of specific engineering tasks.

Bibby Offshore’s Chief Executive Howard Woodcock said: “Bibby Offshore has previously engaged in conversion on an ad hoc basis but is now delighted to have developed an industry leading bespoke program. Due to the positive feedback received from those involved, we plan on repeating the scheme in early 2013 with around three intakes annually. We have already started looking into how we can improve on it for next year’s candidates to ensure we maintain a steady stream of experienced individuals.

“One of our core values is to realise the talent of our people, which means supporting and empowering them to achieve the best they can. Our business needs good people and, in order to fill the gaps that have appeared within the industry, we need to put in the effort, through initiatives like the Engineering Conversion Programme and Graduate Training Scheme, which trains them up and provides career opportunities.”

The Graduate Training Scheme continued last year with nine new graduates enrolling – an increase of three from the previous intake. The new recruits consist of three contract engineers, five operations engineers and one asset management engineer.

During the scheme they are put through their offshore survival training and are provided with continual training and development opportunities to help progress their skills. Throughout the two years, graduates also have the support of trained mentors within Bibby Offshore.

The Academy has several Institute of Leadership and Management accredited Management and Future Management programmes to aid staff in progressing within the company.

The training and development schemes Bibby Offshore has introduced have helped to provide a high quality pool of workers who are encouraged to meet their potential and help give Bibby Offshore, the skills boost it needs.

Bibby Offshore currently has over 250 onshore staff and over double that offshore.