QISC's Simulator Training
To meet the standards of the industries it serves, QISC solely offers training facilities that its customers will recognise as state-of-the-art. Its Major Emergency Management Training Suite in particular was conceived as world-class, and remains so. The Suite’s raison d’être is to challenge trainees to develop the skills they require in order to respond effectively to workplace disasters and major incidents. To achieve this, it uses innovative event simulation to replicate real-life catastrophes in a controlled setting:
• In the physical domain, facilities including audio-visual links, telephones, and public address systems enhance the “live” experience, along with sensory stimulants such as horns, sirens, and flashing lights.
• In the virtual domain, disaster tracking software and computer generated displays mimic control panels and other elements of the trainee’s Command and Control environment.
The engine behind this: the Pisys training simulator.
Simulator models cover all requirements
QISC’s emergency management training is based mainly on models simulating three types of asset: production platform, jackup rig and onshore gas plant. John Morgan, QISC’s Major Emergency Management Manager, comments:
“We identified the need after the Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. One of the drilling majors said they had close to 60 people who needed training on jackups straight away, and I reckon we’ve now trained around 2,000 people on jackups in total. One of our other main simulator based courses is control room operations, with 500-plus trainees accredited annually. Nearly
every control room operator in the region earned their stripes on a QISC course”.
Why the Pisys Simulator?
With the smooth operation of the regional oil & gas asset base now resting so strongly on the aptitude of QISC-trained staff, the choice of training simulator must surely have been one of the most critical decisions in the company’s history. Looking back, how could John Morgan have been sure that the Pisys path was the right way to go? He recalls: “My relationship with Pisys goes
back a long way - more than fifteen years! It was actually triggered by Lord Cullen’s enquiry following the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea. As we all know, through his enquiry Lord Cullen changed the way that the oil industry operated. A critical aspect of that was the drive to improve offshore related training. Would you believe that, before then, there was no training for senior management in relation to offshore platforms?”.
John continues: “My employer at that time (RGIT Montrose) was asked to contribute to the enquiry. This led to myself and a colleague asking oil companies if we could use one of their platforms as a template for a training simulator. The next step was to find a simulator supplier, and the only company capable of fulfilling what we wanted was Pisys”.
Performance of Pisys and the Training Simulator
Asked if Pisys’s systems and support have delivered all that has been required of them, John paints a picture of both quality and consistency: “It’s all been excellent. It’s a fantastic tool, the customer service has been exemplary, and any project management we’ve needed has been superb".
He adds: “On top of that, Pisys are very willing to develop new simulator models. QISC customers often ask me questions such as ‘Would it do this?’ or ‘Would it do that?’. Whatever it is, we usually we find that Pisys have already thought about it. They are also constantly improving their products and capabilities, as well as developing new models they can demonstrate. Two
weeks ago I sent them some thoughts relating to gas plant training. Would you believe that they’ve already sent me back a miniature gas plant model?”. And what if there’s a problem with the system? John replies: “In six years there’s never been a single problem that noticeably disrupted a training session - in spite of the system being used ten to twelve hours a day. And if there is the slightest glitch I simply send an email and it’s fixed within hours”.
The Future - Continuing Symbiosis
Asked how they see the future unfolding for the relationship between Pisys and QISC, John and Ray Allen, Pisys Director responsible for Simulators have no difficulty visualising a positive way forward. Referring back to the symbiosis between the two companies’ development, John points towards the introduction of new simulator models – such as a liquid gas plant model for a global oil & gas operator – as QISC expands its customer base. Adding an extra layer to the joint vision, Ray observes that QISC’s ongoing growth could well spawn new training centres at different geographical locations: “If that happens, the two companies will sit down together and plan the evolution of what the new office is likely to require, based on its commercial plan for the first few years”.
What if John was put on the spot by another training company considering a Pisys simulator? “I would advise them to bite Pisys’s hand off, and I would stress that they must think about the quality as well as the price. And also the relationship. The heart of your simulator training business is your simulator. Second only to your staff, it’s your simulator supplier who keeps your operation going. It’s important to know that they care about your business”.