The technical competence of our people is core to OSRL and central to everything we do.
This role is about developing and setting the technical competency standards for OSRL personnel and ensuring they have the right blend of knowledge, skill and experience to excel as oil spill experts.
In addition to setting the standards, this role focuses on managing our OPITO-approved competency assurance system and subject matter expertise framework, ensuring that we have robust processes in place to measure and develop our people’s technical expertise, across our business.
Meet the Team
Aaron joined OSRL after several years as a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy. Since joining OSRL Aaron has attended numerous major oil spills in Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East taking on both supervisory and technical advisor roles.
Having completed a secondment in the position of Africa Regional Representative Aaron joined the training team. Whilst in the training team Aaron developed and delivered training on the full spectrum of IMO, DECC and ICS courses. Aaron has also worked on consultancy projects providing advice and support to the South African and Falkland Island Governments on their National Oil Spill Contingency Plans (NOSCP).
Following his time in the training team Aaron joined the technical team. Here he is responsible for the development and assurance of OSRL’s response staff, providing governance on project management, and for maintaining and updating OSRL’s internal resilience.
Aaron also holds a Master’s degree in Maritime Law and is an ICS Canada accredited trainer
Subject Matter Expertise Framework
Aaron is continuing with the development of OSRL's subject matter expertise framework. This framework is for technical staff who are passionate about becoming industry experts in niche fields within oil spill preparedness and response. The framework allows us to more clearly measure the deep technical expertise of our most technically competent staff. This will deliver three key benefits;
- It supplements and supports our existing competency and job frameworks, allowing our staff more scope to pursue career pathways in technical disciplines they are passionate about
- It gives industry greater access to our discipline specialists and subject matter experts
- It improves our structures for developing and sharing knowledge both outside and within the organisation, ensuring we remain at the forefront of good practice.
Writing and updating the technical standards for response staff
OSRL’s response team comprises a number of key positions. We have a long established training programme for Responders, and this year, Aaron is leading the re-write of the training for our Duty Managers and Incident Managers. This revised training looks holistically at both the technical competency required as well as the enabling skills needed to maximise the application of these technical skills. This has included particular focus on leadership and critical decision making whilst under acute pressure.
There has also been a focus on restructuring and updating our internal technical advisor training. This training focuses on taking the technical knowledge developed in the Advance technical training course and teaching individuals the skills and techniques to best apply that knowledge. The course is highly interactive and looks to replicate the technical and emotional experience the individuals would experience when responding to clients infield.
Developing a holistic responder framework
Our aim is to pull all of the ‘pieces’ of technical and behavioural competency together into a comprehensive and systematic framework. People will always be our single greatest asset which is why we recruit carefully and spend considerable time, money and energy developing them to be the best they can be – developing ‘competency’. Whilst we talk about developing competency a lot and have various technical and behavioural frameworks already, we lack a holistic approach which is key to the whole life development of an individual and for ensuring organisational agility. For us, ‘agility’ is achieved by having a high number of individuals who can act effectively in a variety of different response situations, whether that be in the field or in the command centre, during an exercise or a real incident.
Competency is a combination of observable and measurable abilities, knowledge, skills and personal attributes that enable a person (or an organisation) to act effectively in a job or situation. High individual competency ultimately results in organisational success.
As part of his role Aaron also acts as OSRL’s Project Management Office. This requires him to provide oversight and governance of projects and also support the project managers. This has resulted in a reworking of our internal project management procedures reflecting lessons learned and aligning them closer to industry good practice.
Working with Thais Colling-Wenzel and Rosie Buse, OSRL’s Resilience documents have been reviewed and updated with training and exercises being delivered for our Crisis Management Teams (CMT) and Business Continuity Teams in Southampton, Singapore and South Africa. The exercises were well received with further plans to train and exercise in our Americas region.
Aaron has recently lead teams in delivering consultancy projects for clients who seek to develop complex new pipelines with multiple environmental risks, and clients who seek to develop their corporate crisis management capabilities.