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Leveraging Cultural Understanding to Unlock Workforce Potential

Ian Hunt, Region VP – MENA 

Possessing as much as 48% of the world’s oil reserves, few economies are as well known for their oil-rich history as the Middle East. A region synonymous with oil and gas production, the landscape here is dominated by rapid evolution, global investment and presently significant increase in drilling activity. Now, with the need for a just energy transition dominating the global conversation, the pressure has been rising on the region for its commitment to supporting transitional efforts, which was recently intensified by COP28’s arrival in Dubai last November.   

Like any other country or region in a similar position under pressure to deliver on a just transition, the transformative potential of the Middle East is abundantly clear. The question is; what is the key to unlocking that potential? The answer is simple; we must support operators and workforces, ensuring they have the correct skill set required to meet the demand for new energy jobs.   

Through our growing Middle East team and our collaborations with some of the region’s leading operators, drilling contractors and oilfield service companies, we have experienced and played a vital role in securing learning that’s fit for the future industry’s needs and workforce ambitions.    

At 3t, we pride ourselves with our competence, capabilities and track record of providing bespoke solutions across the globe, tailoring training programmes and learning solutions to fit in with diverse workforces, locations and cultures. This has certainly been the case for our work in the Middle East, where the capabilities of our team, our expertise, and our immersion and knowledge of the local market, its operational requirements and culture have allowed us to design and implement custom training programmes to deliver transformational workforce learning experiences.  

At the forefront of our success within the region has been the adoption of our Digital Twin technology, which has become an integral solution to our regional client base. Fine-tuned to fit the requirements of real-life assets, whether onshore power plants or drilling rigs, our Digital Twin technology has allowed operators to upskill their workforce in a fully immersive and engaging learning environment. By familiarising personnel with the high-risk areas their jobs will take them – but without risking their safety – we create virtual learning scenarios that provide them with the skills needed to safely and effectively work within a real-life environment.   

The familiarity and trust with our Digital Twins stem from our track record with virtual reality (VR) and simulator technology offerings. Immersive 3D simulation learning experiences brought to life via VR Safety Training can significantly improve operational confidence and knowledge and has been proven to lead to a 70% increase in employee performance compared to traditional training methods alone. The fidelity and immersion of our imagery and scenarios create environments that are exact replicas of our client’s assets.  

The quality of our technology, combined with the expertise of our team in the energy sector and as part of and alongside drilling SMEs has significantly strengthened our credibility throughout the region. We have experienced first-hand the hunger to invest in innovative and immersive technologies that have the power to attract and empower the next generation of talent that expect modernised learning methodologies and we are very keen to take this journey with our customers.  

At 3t we appreciate that the younger generation entering the market think and learn differently and has unique ambitions and expectations compared with current generations. We need to embrace this, understand the difference and develop pragmatic learning solutions that address these challenges and gamification has a big role to play in this space.  

Like the immersive qualities of our VR and simulation technology, knowing the market culture within the Middle East is as critical as amassing industry experience. The multi-disciplined and multi-cultural projects I’ve been part of across my career in the Middle East have allowed me to leverage those experiences to support 3t’s continued growth within the region and its commitment to offering workforce solutions that truly revolutionise workforce training and learning. By working closely with operators throughout the scope of a project, we can create bespoke solutions to bespoke problems.   

Every region is different – each brimming with vastly different experiences and skill sets. As leaders in workforce training and learning, our job is to meet the local workforce on their own terms and find solutions that can help unlock their potential to deliver a prosperous future for their careers and their communities.   

2024 is set to be an exciting year for 3t across the region, specifically within the UAE and Kingdom of Saudi, keeping up the trend of our significant growth and expansion over the past two years. Previously working and living within the Middle East for 20+ years, it’s great to be back here with 3t and to utilise my regional expertise and connections to support continued growth and the region’s workforce.