How a strong competency framework can address offshore industry challenges more efficiently

Posted by Robert Carlyon on 07-Feb-2019 11:00:00

With oil and gas operators continuously looking for ways to streamline projects and achieve cost savings in an ever-changing industry, the pressure on the supply chain to provide appropriate solutions is ramping up. Service companies now need to push the technological boundaries of traditional processes and deliver greater value through integrated solutions to really get underneath the client’s challenges; particularly when it comes to the late life stage. With these advancements, an experienced multi-skilled workforce back up the strategy.

In this blog, we investigate how competency training is the key to achieving consistent reliable operational success for offshore operator’s projects and across a portfolio that offers integrated solutions. We also give an exclusive insight into the game-changing infrastructure that Claxton is putting into place.



Competency-based training frameworks offer tangible benefits for the business, employees and its clients. Through standardisation of operations and performance, personal judgement and room for error are minimised, resulting in a positive proactive work environment and a strengthened employer-employee interface. A competency framework is underpinned by transparent workforce planning, performance standards, performance assessments and ongoing forward plans.

An embedded competency practice can realise these benefits for the business, its staff and clients:

  • Ongoing constructive performance assessments by management to set out clear goals for the employee to work towards
  • Improved internal communication between employees and senior management
  • Standardisation of performance across the business resulting in improved quality of products, services, and project management integration for the end user
  • Increased internal employee motivation, providing the business with greater flexibility when conducting tasks
  • Provides employee development and promotional paths within the business to increase retention, resulting in a strong experienced workforce and continuity for the client
  • Reduction in cost overruns caused by poor performance or miscommunication of job expectations which also reduces time lost correcting mistakes.


Even with the most strategic planning, operating in the oilfield can present all sorts of unexpected challenges, especially when dealing with aged assets. Such issues can result in lengthy investigations and corrective procedures all of which can hike up the number of rig days and have a negative effect on the overall project budget.

Having a multi-skilled workforce on board who have received standardised training not only reduces the overall personnel on board (POB) but means that the crew are equipped with the right skills to efficiently address any issues, and more importantly, mitigate them altogether.  

Taking a people-based approach to a task using the competency framework methodology could follow this workflow:

  • Selection of right candidate from either internal or external technician pool, based on the job requirement, through face-to-face interviews/consultations where strengths are identified
  • Identification of any skills gaps or inconsistencies in qualifications
  • Train and develop all technicians to the required standard as per the framework
  • Mobilise technicians to the rig with dedicated leaders and supervisors in place
  • Continuous training programmes to nurture the development of multi-skills to cover all oilfield lifecycle phases

This is the selection and training methodology which is practised by Claxton.


To improve technical competence across operations, Claxton recruited a dedicated competency manager to take forward the strategy which includes the operations competency system and technical training provision. The role was taken up by Robert Carlyon who transferred internally to the role, having already been with Claxton for 17 years working in various positions, the most recent of which was the offshore operations manager.

Robert’s deep understanding of the industry, particularly operations, means that he is best placed to design, develop and implement the Claxton global competency strategy. The objective of the framework is to clearly demonstrate to external and internal parties how competency for all departments is managed and evidenced within Claxton.

The performance of training gap analysis, in conjunction with the HR department, across operations for the identification of skills development is a key factor in the strategy. To achieve this, Robert maintains an action plan for the development and implementation of competency activities. He works closely with product leaders and technical experts to source cost-effective creative, integrated solutions for design and delivery of in-house and external technical training, that can also be used internationally.

Robert commented, “At Claxton we strongly believe that professionally developing our people and enabling them to learn additional skills keeps them engaged, making them proactive beyond their individual roles. We are proud of our service technician retention rate, which was 95% during 2018, with several members of the team having been with us for over a decade now. This shows that people stay with us when we invest in their progression and development.

He continued “Setting clear objectives for our team and ensuring that milestones are recorded provides a mechanism for the recognition of employees’ abilities and ensuring that individual professional achievements are recorded and acknowledged by the business. This leads to greater engagement and motivation, enabling employees to make informed decisions and operate more efficiency in their day-to-day activities.”


At Claxton the competency framework is all about mutually beneficial partnerships, keeping all resources under one roof and addressing the client’s biggest challenges. To further develop the competency strategy through 2019, Claxton plans to nurture relationships with training service providers and stakeholders across the business, which ultimately contributes to the overall impact of the strategy. It is an ongoing process where assessment of operator’s challenges filters down into identifying skills gaps within the business which are then addressed.

Claxton works in partnership with various sub-contractors including Infobond Personnel Services and fellow Acteon Company Team Energy. For projects which require a workforce beyond our internal resources, Claxton has the advantage of an additional pool of technicians through Infobond. These technicians are cross-trained to meet the standard of our competency framework to ensure that they work seamlessly with the Claxton in-house team on projects and our integrated solution offering. The investment in their training means that the same technicians can be called on time and time again and their skills can be developed to suit specific project requirements. The mutually beneficial partnership between Infobond and Claxton means that day rates are kept to a minimum, resulting in cost savings for our clients’ projects.

“We cannot simply stand still in what is such a fast-paced industry. We believe that the continuous investment in our people and strategy keeps us at the top of our game.” Said Robert.

This vital framework puts Claxton’s workforce in the best position to work on large scale integrated solutions which are project managed by parent company Acteon and executed by the operating companies. Such projects often require previously unseen challenges to be tackled and the development of technological innovations.

Robert concluded, “The bottom line is that the combination of a solid competency framework and strong working partnerships with service providers and stakeholders increases the quality of the products and services delivered. The standardisation of operational performance results in added value for the client’s projects.”



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