The competence of personnel is of global importance throughout the offshore oil and gas industry. Increasingly contractors are being called upon by clients, regulators and others to demonstrate that the individuals working for them, particularly in safety-critical roles, are adjudged competent and can demonstrate it.
The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), working through, and in consultation with, members, has developed an extensive framework of guidance that members can use to establish or enhance their own in-house schemes, with recognised industry criteria and templates for assessment and record keeping. New publications include information notes on 'Recognition of Competence of Personnel between Contractors' and a case study: 'Development of a Competence Assurance and Assessment Programme', setting out the process one of IMCA's leading contractor members has gone through to develop its own competence assurance and assessment programme, based upon the association's guidance.
"Encouraging organisations to implement competence schemes is one of the mainstays of the IMCA work programme," says Jane Bugler, IMCA's Technical Director. "There are frameworks in place for each of its technical divisions - Marine, Diving, Offshore Survey, and Remote Systems & ROV. Development and implementation of a scheme is then up to individual organisations.
"During 2010 as part of our ongoing campaign to encourage implementation, we held a well attended competence workshop aimed at contractors, their Competence & Training representatives, and offshore personnel. Competence is a combination of training and experience. To have an effective competence programme in place there needs to be ongoing employer/employee interaction and assessment over long periods (years) and a wide variety of responsibilities within a role which delivers huge value to both parties as well as others like clients. We can, and must, encourage take up of competence schemes all over the world."
IMCA's Competence framework (IMCA C001 - C005 'Competence assurance and assessment - Guidance document and competence tables') allows for consistency of assessment in core/key competences across the offshore community. These competences include safety issues, behavioural factors including communication, and emergency response.