Competence Assurance Processes


Competence Assurance Processes

performance management

Building world-class workforces - BHP Billiton Petroleum

Following a baseline review in 2009 to evaluate BHP Billiton Petroleum’s competence and training processes, we were selected to deliver a globally standardised competency management and assurance process. We worked with a dedicated BHP Billiton team to create and deploy the Competency Assurance and Training (CAT) system globally across the organisation’s Petroleum Division, using our Skills XP system. Requirements:

  • Deploy the CAT system across petroleum assets based on a single, transparent and robust process
  • Build upon and incorporate into the process an existing global standard for assessing and verifying competence at the individual and team level
  • Ensure the CAT system consistently delivers reliable monitoring and reporting at global, regional, team and individual levels.

Globally consistent competencies

The process began with the selection of a vocational qualification framework that provided a standard from which to build the competence system. A thorough analysis of competence requirements was then conducted according to job titles across the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) workforce. Standardised competencies were then defined based on safety-critical, trade-specific and site-specific requirements within the regions.

While safety-critical and trade-specific competencies are globally applicable, site-specific competencies were used to address regional, facility and equipment variations across the organisation.

Global, role-specific competence profiles and assessment materials were then developed to align competencies to standardised O&M positions in the organisation. Knowledge requirements and performance criteria were also established to clearly define what each individual must know and demonstrate during the assessment process.

In essence, the profiles clearly identify all requirements for a job role and help employees plan the assessments and learning events necessary to become or remain compliant with BHP Billiton’s internal requirements.

Clear development paths

We reviewed all competence-related learning material to source good practices and identify areas for improvement. Competence development plans were created to help employees manage and plan their proficiency and professional development.

BHP Billiton’s competence management SkillsXP IT system was then used to produce a forward-looking gap analysis against the employee’s role-based competence profile. The IT system serves as a central, digital repository for all relevant records and enables employees and supervisors to create plans to develop skills and close identified gaps.

Once the process for assessment and verification was created, internal assessors and verifiers were identified and trained. The assessor training consisted of a two-day, classroom-based training followed by a period of practice assessments.
Having established the frameworks and processes, with assessors and verifiers trained, PTS worked with BHP Billiton to support change management, deploy user training and ensure transparency through ongoing stakeholder communication and engagement.


To date, the CAT system has been successfully deployed in Trinidad, the Gulf of Mexico, Pakistan, the UK and Australia. More than 50 assessors and a dozen verifiers have been trained to deliver and audit the assessment process. Of the more than 200 O&M employees, thousands of assessments have been completed.