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Working With ConocoPhillips to improve training outcomes

Western Australia

Key Points 

  • A partnership approach to developing a new training program  
  • Expertise and experience contributing to good outcomes 
  • 100% completion rates. 


ConocoPhillips is the world’s largest independent exploration and production company, exploring for, developing, and producing crude oil and natural gas globally. 

ConocoPhillips Australia and Energy Apprenticeships Group (EAG) (now Programmed Training Services) began a successful working partnership in 2009 to develop a sustainable workforce that addressed a shortfall in the availability of qualified process operators in Darwin for the Darwin LNG Plant. Driven by meeting the long term need for skilled labour and focused on placing the right people in the right job, ConocoPhillips and EAG together created and implemented a Process Operator Trainee Program (DOCTA Program). The program provided a residential workforce for the Darwin LNG Facility. 


EAG conducted a training needs analysis and mapped out role requirement to identify core competencies essential to new recruits. We then established recruitment criteria, which were documented extensively in a recruitment schedule and training plan. The implementation of the plan resulted in a highly targeted and successful candidate selection process with a high number of quality candidates to choose from. Establishing a robust program required years of prior knowledge. EAG’s strengths in the following areas were crucial: 

  • Expertise in both the industry and in developing training programs 
  • Ability to deliver core business model, saving time and costs 
  • Knowledge of training packages, systems, government requirements 
  • Existing strong relationships with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). 


By creating efficiencies, this customised program delivered significant time and cost savings. It also addressed the problems with the previous DOCTA program. 

From the success of the DOCTA program an expansion program was initiated, which paved the way to diversify the program to other areas of recruitment (or skills needs) to include electrical and mechanical apprentices and business administration and warehouse trainees. The partnership of ConocoPhillips and EAG has seen the program achieve 100 percent completion rates, which significantly outperforms the national industry average. 

Other initiatives developed for ConocoPhillips included: 

  • Skills and innovation: establish a new training program that exceeded the initial brief and has since been integrated into ConocoPhillips’ business operation 
  • Safety: establish a safety culture in parallel with ConocoPhillips’ SPIRIT values 
  • People management: Progress reviews including, monthly appraisals of apprentices and trainees; quarterly review meetings and reporting 
  • Completion and retention: 90.5% percent retention with 100% completion rates 
  • Setting up an Indigenous Timorese program 

Today the program is ongoing with EAG recruiting process plant operator trainees every six months and apprentices every two years. The program is managed by a dedicated EAG advisor based at the Darwin LNG facility.

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