Houston Community College has embarked on a visionary project with the oil and gas drilling industry to change the way drilling rig crews are recruited, trained and developed. This is in response to industry’s call for new ways to meet “the big crew change.” The industry is faced with the need to not only fill the vacant positions of retiring personnel, but to also staff up and train crews for approximately 140 new offshore drilling rigs under construction.
“The drilling industry is faced with the challenge to bring 24,000 new hires on board within the next few years,” says Diamond Offshore Drilling CEO and President, Larry Dickerson. “Diamond Offshore and other drilling contractors have worked with HCC education experts over the past year to create a program that produces better trained candidates for the drilling industry of the future.
Houston Community College has committed resources to establish the HCC Global Oil and Gas Drilling Training Center. HCC educators have been working with drilling contractor company representatives on an advisory committee to set the vision and parameters of a program to achieve a better solution for the big crew change: trained, technically educated, safety skilled and promotable new hires.
The vision is to create a realistic drilling environment for new hire induction, orientation and training. The goal is to provide drilling contractors with a premier source for retainable, promotable and safety-conscious entry-level rig crewmembers.
HCC is starting construction of a HCC Global Oil and Gas Drilling Training Center that includes a rig safety and skills laboratory on their Northeast Campus. This skills laboratory will be known as “RIG-ONE” and will replicate the essential components of the rig work environment for new hires (Offshore Roustabouts/Onshore Roughnecks). A two-week, hands-on program will provide trainees with experience in working around cranes, forklifts and air tuggers to acquire skills in safe pipe and cargo handling. Other skill areas include material handling, tank cleaning, confined space entry, routine maintenance and hand tool skills. Basic first aid, firefighting, station bills and muster, lock-out/tag-out and other safety procedures such as Helicopter Underwater Evacuation Training and Safe Driving are integrated into this real world experience. The training curriculum is aligned with the International Association of Drilling Contractors Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) profiles.
The entire project will be more than just the usual training of new hires. It will be an experience! Trainees will confront, daily, real-life situations requiring aptitude, knowledge and skills. The HCC Northeast Campus will be home site for the “RIG-ONE Experience.”
According to Dr. Lee Hunt, President Emeritus of the International Association of Drilling Contractors and Strategic Advisor of RIG-One, elements of the program include courses accredited by IADC.
“The RIG-One Experience is a visionary collaboration of industry experts and college educators to induct new employees into the world of drilling who are retainable, promotable and safety conscious,” said Renee Byas, HCC Acting Chancellor. “We are excited about the industry being able to offer thousands of new jobs to people right here in Houston, Texas – the Energy Capital of the World.”
The groundbreaking for the HCC Global Oil and Gas Drilling Training Center and its RIG-One Safety and Skills Laboratory is scheduled for Fall 2013. Initial training classes are also expected to begin in the Spring 2014 semester. High school seniors, returning veterans and other workforce personnel will be offered the opportunity to train, get hired and go to work in a challenging, exciting, and well paid industry. Future expansion of the Global Oil and Gas Drilling Center will include advanced training in specialty skills areas such as electronics, mechanics and hydraulics or other drilling positions such as Floorhand, Assistant Driller and Driller. A two-year drilling associate degree is also being discussed.
For additional information please see www.hccs.edu/drillcenter.
Interim Director of Public Relations & Media