A recognisable part of the Drilling Systems team, our Drilling and Well Control Manager, Alan Soutter, is often hands-on on a variety of projects, working face-to-face with clients as well as helping to establish the workforce of the future through the training provided at academic institutions.
> What attracted you to join Drilling Systems?
Originally, I started working at Survivex as an industrial skills instructor, so when Survivex became part of 3t Energy Group, which by that point already had Drilling Systems amongst its portfolio of businesses, it just seemed like the right place, right time. When the opportunity to become part of Drilling Systems came along, it felt like the perfect chance for me to use my drilling expertise to help develop that side of the business.
With the insight I’d previously gained in my career through my on-field experiences, I felt as though I was in the right position where I could really add something to the team and help drive Drilling Systems forward.
> Being heavily involved in the product development process at Drilling Systems, what do you think sets the company apart from competitors?
Industry-wide and across every project we take on, Drilling Systems has the track record as the number 1 simulator provider. Designing our simulators to be as user-friendly as possible, we consistently allow the end user to jump on our simulators with very little prior familiarisation training. Designing solutions that reflect the real-world conditions that the end user would experience, consistently being as close to the real thing as possible, helps the instructor and the student to fully immerse themselves in the training solutions that we provide.
Striving to create unique and bespoke training solutions ensures that the focus is driven on the learning objective whilst creating a real immersive training experience.
> How do Drilling Systems stay on top of technological advancements to support the industry?
Always looking ahead and around us, the Drilling Systems team are consistently aiming to develop and upgrade the variety of technology and products that we offer to clients.
Crucial to the completion and success of the projects that we take on is our understanding of the technology we offer and how it relates to each client’s bespoke internal operations. With the industry always evolving, we need to ensure that our simulator packages provide the correct training solutions required for our customers, examining how to integrate these solutions in line with the industry’s technological developments.
> In your experience working in academic institutions to deliver training, what would you say has been the most notable change in students when using simulation technology as it becomes more ingrained in industry practice?
The immersive level of the training we provide, not just to academic institutions but to every sector we work with, is the key factor here.
In my time working within academic institutions and with students, it’s been clear that the hands-on and realistic experiences we provide help students engage and buy into the learning objectives that are set out as part of the training courses.
By creating a fully immersive training experience that reflects real-world scenarios, students become familiar with what they will experience in the field, allowing them to make mistakes and learn processes in a safe and controlled environment. By offering top-of-the-range and engaging solutions that are proven to benefit learning retention, we are helping students feel comfortable in their surroundings, increasing confidence and allowing them to gain vital experience to take into real-life scenarios.
> How do you feel the technology and training solutions you provide are helping to shape the future of the energy industry and addressing the issue of skill shortages?
A proud part of my role within Drilling Systems and something I, and the team around me, take great responsibility for is how Drilling Systems, as part of 3t Energy Group, is helping to secure the future of the energy sector by raising standards within the industry. By ensuring personnel are receiving appropriate training, we are focused on addressing skills shortages to help drive the industry forward and move past existing skills gaps.
By providing high-standard simulation technology, we are consistently giving our customers an advantage when it comes to crew competency. Allowing students to immerse themselves in real-life scenarios within the safety of a simulated environment helps to ensure that crews are more prepared to face the diverse range of challenges and risks that they would experience within the drilling industry, reducing operational risks whilst improving all-around operational and HSE performance.
> What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career so far?
Never be afraid to question anyone and always think; ‘What if’?