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Meet major emergency management (MEM) instructor Jillian Thomson

Having joined Petrofac Training in 2012, Jillian is a Major Emergency Management (MEM) instructor who offers unrivalled training expertise and first-hand experience of dealing with major incidents.

The recent acquisition of Petrofac’s UK training centres by Survivex’s parent company the 3t Energy Group results in an expansion of our course portfolio, as well as the blending of two specialist teams, bringing unrivalled expertise and new sets of skills to service clients and delegates to help accelerate their career.

Meet Jillian, who not only gives us an exciting insight into her role as a Major Emergency Management (MEM) instructor, but also sheds light on the importance and necessity of emergency response training.

> What made you decide to become a MEM instructor?

Prior to joining Petrofac Training, I was a Police Officer, with an added role of an Energy Liaison Officer. This included assisting with offshore inquiries and dealing with related incidents. Following the tragic North Sea helicopter incident in 2009, I was temporarily stationed at BP headquarters where I was introduced to emergency response plans and gained a flavour of what I do in my current role.

As a result, I developed a great interest in the emergency management field, and when an opportunity to become an instructor at Petrofac presented itself, I knew it was a right fit for me.

> What does your current role entail?

As a MEM instructor, I provide emergency management and response training to OIMs, Control Room Operators, and other relevant parties within oil and gas, as well as the renewables sector.

Being involved in the renewables sector for the past five years, has allowed me to not only deliver emergency response courses throughout the UK, but also develop specialist courses specific for this sector, including the Emergency Coordinator Renewable Energy (Wind) Coaching and Assessment course, which has been the sector’s very first OPITO accredited course of this type.

In addition to onshore training, I also travel offshore to coach OIMs and their teams on-site, which allows them to learn and apply newly gained skills within their own environment. That allows for in-depth individual training, helping them test and recognise their capabilities and practice working as a team, should an incident occur.

I also design and develop bespoke courses for our clients. For example, one course I created was bespoke to a Norwegian operator who needed to be trained for UK waters and be aligned to OPITO’s standards. For the past five years, I have been working closely with this operator, which has seen me travel offshore many times to deliver training. 18 months ago, I also developed Emergency Response Plan for this client; another example of the skills that we provide.

Since becoming an instructor, I’ve developed my own skillset to a great extent, including recently become an Internal Verifier, which has helped me to perform my role even more effectively and efficiently.

> What do you think the acquisition of Petrofac Training by 3t Energy Group bring?

The acquisition combines the expertise and legacies of two industry leaders, which will allow for knowledge exchange, sharing best practices and provision of different outlooks and aspects which will help shape the future of the training industry.

We can now supply market leading courses and state of the art technology under one roof, catering to all our clients’ training needs.

> Since becoming a MEM instructor, how do you think the MEM training has changed?

Historically, people might not have appreciated the importance of emergency response training. However, we saw a great shift in attitudes in recent years, and now everyone understands the significance and benefits of emergency response training, and how vital it is to embrace this.

As a training provider, we do not focus only on attendance and certificates – we make sure that our customers leave the courses equipped with knowledge and skills that will help them manage an emergency effectively and efficiently, and we conduct in-depth assessments to ensure that is the case.

Managing emergencies is not something that you are born with; you must work to understand and gain all the skills to do so correctly.

> What part of your role drives you the most?

To see people develop their skills and progress within their role. Taking them from having never managed an emergency, to dealing with incidents effectively and efficiently, gives me an incredible job satisfaction.

Also, the diverse range of things that I do. I go offshore, I travel, I have onshore projects. This diversity, as well as the relationships I develop with clients, makes my role so interesting and exciting.