DTN Institute saw a lingering problem in the oil and gas industry 17 years ago.
The company, known as Energy Management Institute (EMI) at the time, kept hearing the same cry for help from professionals with roots in the energy landscape. They needed talent and expertise, a resource that became scarcer with each downturn.
EMI knew of a remedy, one that could fill the widening talent gaps between old veterans and young bloods. The company embraced education, using it to train not only new graduates or novice employees, but also those looking to stay up to speed in an ever-evolving industry.
“Companies would show us these bell curves where they were losing that expertise,” said Stephen Gloyd, the director of DTN Institute. “There’s a gap of institutional knowledge and a vacuum of the rate of growth in the industry.
“Even if you’re up to speed today, tomorrow can be completely different,” he said. “As the industry changes, that gives us a chance to keep educating the industry.”
How did we get here?
The cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry has sapped an abundance of talent from operations across the energy landscape. When one downturn would surface, companies would contract to endure the hard times, Gloyd said. But when the marketplace turned around, many of those who lost their jobs either didn’t come back or left the industry entirely.
“There’s been several booms and busts in the industry,” he said. “When you have a bust, there’s a fragmentation with companies and employees.”
Rinse and repeat with each downturn and soon oil and gas companies were comprised of novice and veterans and no one else in between. On top of that, the industry continues to evolve. Technology has made massive strides in the past decade, with analytics and algorithms giving operators enhanced insights into equipment productivity and efficiency.
The best way to address that is through education, Gloyd said, especially with several industry veterans on the verge of retiring.
“Education is the silver bullet,” he said.
- Employ educators with expertise and the ability to transfer knowledge
- Offer online training options to reach a wider audience
- Always provide fundamental courses as the demand for such remains strong
- Evaluate programs regularly to craft specific ‘hot topics’