The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
Bibby Offshore helps create a positive future for youth employment
Aberdeen, UK-headquartered subsea services provider Bibby Offshore has seen remarkable growth in recent years, having gone from ten employees in 2003 to now employing more than 1450 people onshore and offshore globally, with regional offices in Liverpool, UK, Newcastle, UK, Norway, Singapore, Houston, USA, and Trinidad. The company currently has an international fleet of seven subsea support vessels and 17 ROVs and says it will continue to add to its fleet to meet market demand.
With an eye on the future, the firm understands the importance of valuing and investing in the workforce of tomorrow. This was highlighted by its successes at the 2014 Oil and Gas UK Awards, where it won in the Investment in People category, and at the 2014 Northern Star Business Awards, winning in the Commitment to People Development category.
Competency and training manger Claire Duncan says: “One of Bibby Offshore’s core values is to realise the talent of its people. The company is aware that employee development contributes significantly towards achieving the company’s key business objectives, and we are consistently striving to develop ways to invest in the next generation, and nurture their skills and experience.”
In August last year, Bibby Offshore recruited its first intake of ROV apprentices, through its new ROV Apprentice Training Scheme. From the 276 interviewed, the six candidates with the most ambition, talent and drive were chosen, and are now nine months into a rigorous four-year training scheme.
Bibby Offshore has a history of putting employee development at the forefront of the company. In 2011 it launched the Bibby Offshore Academy and its Graduate Training Scheme was developed in 2012. This scheme and others like it aim to address the training needs of future employees, and for the management and development of current employees.
“Now in its fourth year, the Graduate Training Scheme offers candidates the opportunity to experience various departments in the company, allowing them to fully understand how the business operates and the industry as a whole,” says Duncan. “We also give all candidates the opportunity to go offshore to gain further experience. Since its inception, the Graduate Scheme has been highly successful, with 32 candidates completing the scheme and they are now employed full time with Bibby Offshore.”
Following the success of the Graduate Training Scheme, Bibby Offshore has developed a number of schemes and programmes to further recruit, develop and hone its staff. It has added significantly to its offerings with the Engineer Conversion Programme and Lead the Way training in 2013, and most recently, the ROV Apprentice Training Scheme.
Duncan continues: “Our training schemes often act as a way to build a bridge between school and further education, into business and industry, helping to improve the country’s system of vocational education, and help reduce youth unemployment.”
The ROV Apprentice Training Scheme initially involved the apprentices spending nine weeks at the Tullos Training Academy in Aberdeen, developing their core skills. Following this they completed a two-week rotation between college and the workplace, achieving a Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 in Engineering whilst also gaining the experience of working in a growing global business.
In the candidate’s first year they engage with various aspects of the business; completing core skills in communication, numeracy and information technology, before becoming involved in offshore operation projects.
The apprentices are currently progressing with the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 2 Certificate, and recently completed the National Certificate Unit in Designing and Constructing Pneumatic and Hydraulic Circuits.
By the end of their second year, the apprentices will have completed their placement at Tullos Training Academy, and will be based within the business for the programme’s remainder. Throughout the third and fourth year they will work towards achieving their SVQ Level 3 in Engineering and upon completion will be classed as a skilled worker, receiving a Modern Apprenticeship Certificate. Upon completion of the scheme the apprentices will be offered a permanent role as an ROV pilot technician with the business.
Cameron Riddell, one of the successful candidates on the scheme, says: “Bibby Offshore really takes the time to help people learn and progress, and my first six months have been filled with a variety of opportunities providing me with the essential skills needed for the job.
“One of my personal highlights has been the visit to a selection of the vessels in the Bibby Offshore fleet, including the Bibby Sapphire, Bibby Topaz and Bibby Polaris, giving us a great insight into what it will be like when we are fully qualified pilot technicians. I have really enjoyed my experience so far, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and Bibby Offshore.”