Vermilion has played a key role in a new industry partnership in Australia, resulting in a standardized education and training program to increase the supply of safe, skilled workers. The partnership hopes to set a national standard in training and development for the oil and gas industry across the country.
It's already making progress: the first Energy Apprenticeships Group Academy (EAGA) class started training February 2016 and will enter the workforce in 2020, employed at oil and gas facilities across Australia.
The EAGA program operates in addition to Vermilion's own apprenticeship program, but focuses on those leaving secondary (high) school. Approaching people at this early stage in their work life provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the potential benefits of work in the industry, particularly among young women.
The partnership is focused on addressing future workforce requirements through collaboration to achieve cost-effective and sustainable results. According to the Energy Apprenticeships Group, over the next three years, the number of LNG production trains in Australia will increase from 7 to 21, requiring an additional 3,000 operations personnel. Meanwhile, 50% of the highly-skilled industry workforce is expected to retire – and it takes eight years of industry experience to fully replace an effective operator.
To address this issue, Vermilion and other industry leaders from Shell, Woodside, and Quadrant began discussing a better way to recruit and train apprentices. They approached Australia's leading authorities in oil and gas training:
For the first time in Australia, four different companies agreed on the technical and life skills they want in their ideal first-year process operator. Together with the Resources Industry Training Council (RITC), they formed a steering committee to provide guidance and direction for the project.
Candidates will take part in ongoing assessment and reporting to measure their progression and ensure they are meeting milestones on their training plan, with oversight from the industry-driven steering committee. EAGA adopts best practice methods for the recruitment and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which includes a full-time advisor offering pastoral care and collaboration with indigenous communities. Where applicable, the EAGA model can be adapted for indigenous-only pathways.