In December 2015, the Energy Chamber partnered with the National Energy Skills Centre (NESC) to assess and certify the skills of 350 experienced, but uncertified, workers in the energy sector. The initiative involves the certification of the workers against a customised standard for welders, pipefitters, and fabricators. The Energy Chamber is responsible for registering the candidates, through our Learning Centre, and for recording the information on their skills on our training and assessment database. Any candidate requiring assessment in a particular occupational area offered by the National Energy Skills Centre’s Workforce Assessment Centre must now first register for that assessment with the Energy Chamber’s Learning Centre; who will also be responsible for the scheduling of the exam. 

The partnership between the Energy Chamber and the NESC has additional benefits for candidates that are seeking employment in the Point Lisas Energy Association (PLEA) companies since the Energy Chamber was able to streamline the process. Candidates who have successfully completed the assessment now have easy access to all their certifications since it is recorded to their profile and stored on a specially issued card. Swiping the card will allow companies to verify whether or not the employees have acquired the necessary certification for entry into a plant by using the Energy Chamber’s gate check system. 

The NESC assessments have become essential to candidates who are highly competent in their area of expertise but never attained formal certification for their discipline. By participating and completing the assessments, candidates are now awarded a certificate of competence in their field of expertise by the National Training Agency. These assessments are also GATE approved. 

The Energy Chamber strongly believes that the Prior Learning Assessment Recognition process is a fundamental stepping stone for individuals possessing the knowledge, skills and attitudes but not the certification for their trade. Given the uncertainty in the energy sector the time is ripe for a renewed focus on skills development. To make the most of this time and its effect on employees, it is necessary to shift the human resource focus toward competency development. Great employees are always interested in learning new things and expanding their skill sets, and in the current economic environment, it is important to provide the resources employees need to increase their value to the company. 

Asgar Ali, Managing Director of Weldfab Limited believes that competency development is a crucial driving force for increasing employee efficiency and productivity. He noted that competency development has a number of other benefits which includes ensuring the right skills are utilised for the task at hand. He also added that it allows for the structured development of employees in response to changes in the work environment and provides a measure of confidence to an employer, that an employee is competent to perform the related task in a safe and efficient manner. 

Weldfab has successfully implemented a competency development programme by partnering with a number of accredited training institutions such as NESC, MIC and the NTA to provide training and competency development for its technical and craft staff. This is led by the HR department and forms part of the organisation’s long-term developmental plan. The benefits of this partnership thus far include a pool of highly trained and competent employees who continuously demonstrate an increased level of productivity with decreased levels of supervision. The company has also found that their competency development initiative has also been linked to increased morale within the pool. 

Asgar Ali also firmly believes that competency development can assist with the export of services as it guarantees that the clients to whom the services are to be exported have been trained to a set of standards in line with industry best practices. This would also satisfy the employer that such trained personnel can perform their requirements in a safe and timely manner.