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COVID-19: Protect, Survive and Recover

In April’s Energy Voice, our CEO John McDonald shared his thoughts on how the energy industry is adapting to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.

Looking after the wellbeing of our colleagues in the global energy workforce during the coronavirus pandemic is, in a sense, business as usual for all of us at OPITO.

We have had one simple, compelling goal since we were founded 30 years ago: to make everyone safer. That aim has never been more relevant as COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the world’s economies and our own industry.

The training we deliver globally through our delivery partners – our training providers - and industry across the globe is designed to save lives and protect those working in hazardous and hostile environments.

As much of the world has now become a hostile environment as a result of the virus, we are committed to supporting the global offshore industry, and every individual in it, as they face these unprecedented difficulties.

Risk assessment and risk management are integral to delivering safety and competence: that’s why we believe in a flexible, responsive and adaptive approach to this crisis while never compromising on safety.

While our own employees are now working from home, they continue to engage with our global network of more than 200 training providers and 375,000 certificated energy workers.

We recognise that a vital industry such as energy does not have the luxury of being able to shut down. That means we must continue to operate our offshore facilities and deliver essential safety and competence training while doing so in the most appropriate way.

We recognise that many energy workers have been prevented from taking part in essential safety courses or retraining due to the effects of COVID-19. For that reason, we are extending the period of validity of certificates for offshore workers, in specific circumstances, to enable them to work.

In recognition of the financial stress that training providers face in these exceptional circumstances we are extending payment terms from April 1.

The requirements to stay at home and impose social distancing are obliging many training providers to close the doors of their training centres. Through working with them, we have developed guidance around delivering training through virtual platforms, live instructor-led webinars, recorded class lectures and other alternatives to classroom-learning. We are also encouraging centres to use video assessment and simulation technology.

What has become clear is that the cooperation and collaboration shown by everyone in our global supply chain has been key to our resilience and business continuity in these difficult times. Both OPITO and our stakeholders have demonstrated a clear commitment to exploiting the benefits of digital technology as a solution. Indeed, the current challenges are actually accelerating trends that had already gained momentum.

We are working tirelessly to engage with our providers, operators, employees and the energy workforce to minimise and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 across our industry. It is in all our interests to preserve our current vibrant, creative and competitive training market. That’s why, together, we are resolved to emerge from this difficult period, aggravated as it has been by the latest oil price crisis, not only intact but stronger.

In this regard, we are particularly encouraged that we have received nearly 1,000 applications for our latest apprenticeships. Young people see this as an industry with a positive future and an industry that has proven itself adaptive, resilient, flexible and responsive to the greatest challenges. That is an industry we are proud to be part of and that we are committed to supporting.