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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Down the people pipeline

Recruitment and training initiatives are helping J.Ray McDermott secure its future work force.

High levels of activity in the oil and gas industry - combined with research that indicates more than 40% of the industry's personnel will retire within the next 15 years - is driving companies, such as J. Ray McDermott, to secure a future work force for a growing list of projects.

The company is one of a number of major regional enterprises servicing the energy industry. With new contracts and the Qatari energy market making up a large portion of J. Ray's business in the region, the company is working to develop a stronger work force to meet immediate and future needs.

Two initiatives within J. Ray, covering recruitment and training of personnel, are the Graduate Engineering Development Programme (GEDP) and Project Execution University (PEU).

"GEDP has given more than 40 recently recruited graduates a structured introduction into the complete scope of work done by J. Ray," said Stewart Mitchell, J. Ray's general manager of Qatar projects. "Topics range from fabrication of jackets and topsides structures to marine, safety to quality, and human resources to procurement, as well as the varied engineering disciplines. GEDP also allows transfer of knowledge from experienced personnel to newer recruits, and these trainees are given the opportunity to develop and test their potential in various departments before making further career decisions."

Two years ago the company also established its PEU, aimed at educating project managers. The PEU's 24 modules are taught by a mix of external professionals and experienced J. Ray managers. The content ranges between soft skills and execution basics, to policies and procedures.

"The first set of PEU participants has now graduated, and another set of modules is currently in session, in total more than 450 participants since the beginning," said Mitchell. "Most importantly, we are already seeing the benefits from both GEDP and PEU in our ability to deliver project commitments to our customers. Furthermore, these two programmes are strengthening J. Ray's work force for the future."

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