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Unique oil and gas training simulator celebrates second anniversary

26 January 2015

People Factor Consultants Ltd (PFC), specialists in both technical and non-technical workplace safety and performance, has celebrated the second operational anniversary of its exclusive, in-house designed high fidelity power distribution simulator.

Brian Crichton, technical director of People Factor Consultants, with PFC’s high fidelity power distribution simulator
Brian Crichton, technical director of People Factor Consultants, with PFC’s high fidelity power distribution simulator

Unique in Europe (the only other is based in Houston and was also designed by and commissioned to PFC), the simulator plays a fundamental role in the Aberdeen-based training company’s technical course portfolio, which focuses upon the accredited training and assessment that the oil and gas industry requires of its electrical discipline personnel.

Using his experience as an offshore electrical engineer and, for the past 20 years, onshore electrical trainer, the simulator was designed by PFC technical director, Brian Crichton. In its portable form, the simulator has been used across the globe since 2008, and the permanent simulator was installed when its purpose-built, city-centre home opened in early 2013.

As Brian explains, it was developed in response to market requirements for a simulator that replicated the power distribution system on both offshore and onshore oil and gas facilities: “Whilst simulators have been in widespread use across various industries, I had never encountered one that simulated the electrical system on an offshore or onshore oil and gas facility, and I knew that it would add significant value to our technical and non-technical training courses.”

He added: “By providing a realistic system for training purposes, without the need for real switchgear, we bring the theory of electrical safety to life, removing the requirement for delegates to take time familiarising themselves with unfamiliar equipment.  This is not a classroom context – our delegates are instantly “at work” in the simulator, ensuring their current technical expertise is genuinely demonstrated and assessed, whilst encouraging them to think seriously about what they are doing.”

PFC managing director, Dr Margaret Crichton is convinced that the highly realistic setting of the simulator also allows for meaningful training and assessment of the “people factor” – i.e. the social, cognitive and personal resource skills that make up non-technical skills: “As our name suggests, we strongly believe that successful practise of technical knowledge must be complemented by enhancing human factors.

“PFC sets itself apart by offering clients that crucial combination of both technical and non-technical training and assessment, which ensures that technical knowledge and skills are subsequently implemented at the optimum level, on a day-to-day basis. Our delegates leave our training courses with a profound understanding of how they operate as individuals, and the impact that has on their daily job.”

As suppliers to a substantial number of the world’s leading oil and gas companies, PFC offers a portfolio of 15 technical and non-technical training courses, many of which are City & Guilds-accredited, as well as providing tailored training and consultancy services to high hazard industries on a worldwide basis. PFC leads the way in ensuring that all industries comprehend the importance of complementary technical and non-technical skills training.

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