By Astrid Wynne, contributing editor
For Abdul Samad Yusof, Head of UMW Drilling Academy, an understanding of where trainees come from is essential if one is to be able to teach them effectively, particularly in his part of the world. Speaking at the 2014 IADC Drilling HSE&T Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore on 3 April, he was keen to point out that certain assumptions that trainers can make in advanced countries do not apply to some developing countries, particularly when it comes to topics like HSE. Taking parts of Malaysia as an example, he said, “It’s a different work culture. In this part of the world, we assume they know nothing (about HSE). It’s a different challenge altogether… Their knowledge of HSE is next to zero. That’s the challenge. You can’t just set the program because a lot of them just don’t apply it at all. The moment they get back home, it’s like wearing a blazer and they throw it right off.”
Similarly, Mr Yusof said he noted that the new generation of trainees also has different expectations and approaches to learning the skills of the job. “This is the generation of instant gratification,” he said. “When I was starting out as a junior, I used to chase around all my seniors asking for information. A lot of today’s generation does not do enough chasing around.”
This being the case, a properly designed training program is vital to bringing a new wave of talent into the drilling industry. At the UMW Drilling Academy, which is run in collaboration with Petronas, UMW recruits are given a broad range of training before going on the job for additional training aboard rigs. Mr Yusof noted that, for each level of progression, a trainee must go through approximately two months of training at theacademy followed by a five-week on-the-job training period. They then must fulfill a period of full work experience, during which they are assessed for suitability to be trained for the next level. The system is intended to provide recruits with a clear path upward, building on each level of skills, up from floorman ultimately to driller.
Classroom teaching is complemented by simulator training and hands-on experience on the land rig that the academy has on site. Mr Yusof said that the hands-on component is vital for giving trainees actual rig experience prior to going into the field. He added that it has been working well with the diverse range of trainees coming through.
“The people we have coming to the training center are all sizes, all shapes and colors with all standards of education,” he said. “Every day is a different day for us.”
The training system at the academy is competence-based, Mr Yusof said, and involves training needs analysis, job/risk analysis, identification of competencies, competency development framework and selection of critical tasks. He also pointed out that creating an effective training system goes further than this, involving not just the development of the curriculum but continuous assessment and verification of the employee’s skills, as well as identifying areas where knowledge gaps might exist that would require retraining.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of retraining. The retention of the human mind isn’t as good as it seems. The question is how do we detect that loss of retention and where do we reapply the training,” he said.