UK standards go global with OPITO

08 December 2009

OPITO, the UK oil and gas industry’s skills organisation, has embarked on an international drive for common standards in a bid to establish Aberdeen and the North Sea as a centre of excellence. A new venture, OPITO International will strive to spread workforce safety and competency across the globe.

David Doig, chief executive of OPITO
David Doig, chief executive of OPITO

David Doig, currently chief executive of OPITO, will spear-head the international drive, becoming group chief executive of OPITO Strategic Limited which is the holding company for OPITO, The Offshore Training Foundation and OPITO International. A managing director for the academy is currently being recruited.

“In the last five years we have succeeded in introducing OPITO standards to improve safety and competence of the indigenous and transient workforces in 26 countries. Currently every year 110,000 people around the world are trained to those standards, developed in the North Sea,” Doig said.

“Under the new structure, we will have the resources and the infrastructure to significantly increase this with an ultimate goal of all offshore workers anywhere in the world trained to common industry standards.

“The new structure will establish Aberdeen and the North Sea as a global centre of excellence in skills, learning development and training in the oil and gas supply chain.”

OPITO International will initially have three business units focused on Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and the Americas. The new international organisation will work with governments, national oil companies, multi-nationals and contractors to meet their skills needs to provide independent advice and guidance on effective management of workforce skills development, emergency response and occupational standards and qualifications and quality assurance of training delivery.

Doig explained: “Many of these markets are not as mature as the UK and therefore the skills offering has to be different. We have separated our business to reflect this and provide a distinct offering for each province.

“As UK innovations are exported and emerging markets evolve, OPITO wants to be at the forefront in serving these markets - recognised for its proven expertise in improving workforce safety and competency.

“The industry currently invests around £12 million per annum in OPITO and we are year on year delivering a return on that investment. By going global, we will ensure that this investment continues to grow and is not just an investment in the UK workforce but in the global workforce where the industry operates.”

Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive and a member of OPITO’s board, welcomed the move and said: “Over the last four decades, a wealth of expertise and technology has been developed alongside UK oil and gas production. There are now vast opportunities to continue creating value for the UK economy by exporting this know-how to oil and gas provinces around the world. The establishment of OPITO International highlights the ingenuity of the UK oil and gas industry as it works to share, from its base in the UK, its proven expertise in improving workforce safety and competency.”

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