Industry Market Trends

Friday Focus: Retaining Oil and Gas Industry Recruits with Simulator Training

Mar 01, 2013

A new report highlights how technological advances and simulator training can help fill positions with valuable employees and retain talent in the oil and gas industry. With an acute worker shortage, it is imperative that companies attract and retain new hires quickly and effectively as baby boomers prepare to retire.

Credit: Stuart Miles at Credit: Stuart Miles at

The white paper, published by GSE Systems, underscores that simulation-based training will improve the learning experience for young recruits and add value, as oil and gas companies struggle to find and hire skilled operators and engineers. Half of the engineers working in the industry will retire by 2015, Cambridge Energy Research Associates reveals. Education is another factor in the skills gap: U.S. universities only produce 20 percent of the engineering graduates they did 20 years ago.

Faced with such a workforce challenge, it is essential for the industry to reverse the worker shortage trend. One way to engage recruits is with simulator training, which brings operational benefits and lower costs. Simulation, or game-based training, is more effective and engaging than traditional non-interactive training methods that include lectures and online tutorials, GSE Systems found.

"Well-designed game-based learning has several advantages over traditional experiential learning methods," says Jessica Trybus, a game-based learning expert at the New Media Institute. "It is cost effective and low risk, unlike, for example, safety training using live machinery ... there are [also] significant learning advantages. Learners can reenact a precise set of circumstances multiple times, exploring the consequences of different actions," she adds.

GSE Systems lists several simulator training benefits for employers, including operational savings costs, better troubleshooting logic, reduced safety risks, and reduced training time. The company also provides a structured training philosophy, called the ADDIE process, to ensure productive facility operation, which includes detailed components, listed below. It emphasizes that while it recognizes simulators to be the most "significant" training tool, simulators are part of a larger, effective training program. According to GSE Systems' ADDIE , companies should identify and form the following steps for successful training:

The ADDIE process:  

Analysis - who must be trained, what must be trained, when training will occur, and where the training will take place.


Design - the training program, including learning objectives, performance tests, learning steps, entry behaviors, and structure and sequence of the instructional outline.


Development - fleshes out all the previous content built in the Analysis and Design phases into a complete learning platform including the media and lesson outlines.


Implementation or Delivery - training products, process and services delivered to the learners.


Evaluation - ongoing process to ensure that the stated goals of the learning process actually meet the required business need.