On October 7, a statement from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said that it has joined forces with Hydrocarbon Sector Skill Council (HSSC) for skill development and capacity building in the hydrocarbon sector.
The hydrocarbon sector itself has gone through a lull. So, has there been a shift in hiring trend? If yes, which category is seeing an upswing? Is behavioural skill also a part of this training?
While there is always demand for petroleum engineers and geoscientists, there is also demand for blue-collar workers who do jobs such as drilling, laying pipelines or working in refineries.
All segments of the sector, upstream (exploration and production), downstream (refining and retailing) and midstream (pipeline networks) need blue-collar workers.
For example, in the upstream segment, assistant technicians for production are in demand; midstream requires skilled pipe fitters, particularly for city gas distribution; downstream needs retail outlet assistants. Other jobs in demand include process instrument operator, industrial electrician and welder, fire safety technician and LPG mechanic to name a few. These are important players in the hydrocarbon sector.
According to Alka Mittal, former Chairman ONGC, who was also CEO of Hydrocarbon Sector Skill Council, the entire value chain of the hydrocarbon sector requires huge skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower.
Role of HSSC
HSSC, which operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, started its journey in October 2017. Since then HSSC has taken various initiatives to address the systemic imbalance between technical education and employable skills, by providing them comprehensive skills training, knowledge through vocational or technical hands-on training to meet the industry requirements and to ensure competitiveness in the global market.
For development of National Occupational Standards in the oil and gas sector, a total of 118 trades were identified by the industry committee for imparting skilling.
In order to create the pool of skilled manpower and for imparting quality training in line with industry requirement, Skill Development Institutes have been set up by the oil and gas public sector units. The institutes are in Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Guwahati, Raebareli and Ahmedabad, where the candidates undergo the residential training programme to learn skills as per the industry requirement.
Additionally, HSSC is also endeavouring to identify more partners for creating more training centres in various locations on pan-India basis to meet the local employment requirement.
But has there been a shift in hiring trend in the energy space? According to Manish Ambwani, Head-Global Operations, GreenTree Advisory Services Pvt Ltd, a boutique search firm, “There has been a significant increase in hiring within the renewable energy sector, driven by the global focus on sustainability. With the global transition towards cleaner energy sources and reducing reliance on fossil fuel we are seeing lot of companies setting up teams in this space.”
On the category of people who are being hired most, he said, “Hydrogen is gaining traction as a potential clean energy carrier. The interest in hydrogen technologies has led to increased hiring for roles related to hydrogen production. Hydrogen infrastructure development, apart from roles in technology, is also seeing lot of demand.”
What kind of job openings will SHRM and HSSC work at? Says Achal Khanna, CEO, SHRM India, APAC and MENA: “The tie-up is to create job opportunities across various sectors, with a primary focus on the hydrocarbon (oil and gas) sector. The partnership aims to enhance the skills and competencies of the Indian workforce, making them more attractive candidates for employment in the hydrocarbon sector.”
Furthermore, the collaboration intends to nurture leadership capabilities, which will be valuable in various roles and industries beyond oil and gas, she said, adding that “In the longer run, both organisations (SHRM and HSSC) will look beyond the oil and gas sectors and get into manufacturing, railways, auto and other major infrastructure and service sectors.”
The demand for assessment and training services in the workforce development sector is substantial and ever-growing, she said, adding “starting with the oil and gas sector, the demand for skilled and competent workers in the hydrocarbon sector is substantial.”
The training will look at skill building, behavioural and skill assessments, behavioural training programmes. Skill building will be specific projects focused on skill development, capability enhancement, and related hard core technical activities.
Behavioural and skill assessments will include content, platforms and execution, to evaluate and enhance the behavioural skills and technical skills of the workforce. These assessments are designed to benefit not only the oil and gas sector but also other industries.
Behavioural training programmes aim to enhance behavioural skills and leadership capabilities. The focus here is on nurturing the soft skills and leadership attributes that are essential for career growth and success in various professional settings.
Most of the companies in the sector till now have been imparting such trainings in silos, which also costs the organisations. Trained and skilled resources are a much-needed component for this sector just as they are for other sectors. Not only do they help in preparing them before they actually hit the job floor, but also sensitise them to take on future challenge as most of the companies are diversifying into various other segments of the energy space.
The entire value chain’s requirement of appropriately trained manpower in quantity and quality on a sustained and evolving basis is the need of the hour. What is needed is to sustain it and keep refreshing their skills in sync with the changing times.