The focus of oil spill response organisations (OSROs) in their development activities, and through forums such as IOSC, tends to be on new equipment, innovative tools and better techniques for spill response. In the excitement about ‘things the people who actually deliver the spill response are often forgotten.

Over the last decade oil companies have downsized and rightsized and are now hollowing out. As result, when an OSRO is called to support an oil company in a spill response there is a requirement for the OSRO to become more and more involved in the strategic management of the spill, with OSRO: client interfaces at a higher and higher level in the client organisation.

The need for OSRO personnel to be well trained not just in a range of spill response techniques but also in a wide variety of ‘soft skills’ such as presentation, negotiation and influencing has never been more compelling.

This paper reports developments at Oil Spill Response Ltd in the selection, training and development of spill responders to meet the increasing demands of our client companies. Core skills and different specialisms required of spill responders are defined and a modular, fast track, training programme is developed. The core skills and training programme are benchmarked across a range of major OSROs to set common, high, worldwide standards. The accreditation of this programme to offer a formal diploma qualification is further examined.

Continuing education is a key theme of the paper, with senior spill responders offered a development opportunity in the training of new recruits, whereby they can become accredited trainers; whilst spill managers can convert the diploma qualification into a degree-level award.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Author notes

1 DISCLAIMER: The opinions and views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of any other party.