The advantages of the Atlas Competence Programme

Dingena Peddie-Theunisse, Competence Manager at Atlas Professionals.

Competence Management and Competence Assurance is increasingly important from a safety, commercial and legal point of view. Atlas Professionals has been addressing this issue for several years and in March of this year it took the next step in competence management, the Atlas Competence Programme (ACP), which has been developed together with our clients and professionals. 

Q: Why is Competence Management and specifically, Competence Assurance so important for clients?

Dingena: “Ultimately, Competence Management improves overall industry performance in terms of safety and efficiency.  Atlas’ is contributing to improving industry standards and at the same time, meeting increasing requirements concerning the ability to demonstrate the further competence of personnel.

“Our clients deserve to know that the professionals they employ are further competence assured in what they do and that if an incident or accident occurs, clients can prove the competence of the personnel involved. Additionally, when being audited and when tendering for work, the Atlas Competence Programme helps clients demonstrate the competence of personnel. 

“There also needs to be a continuous drive to reduce the risk of incidents, accidents and near misses in the industry and the Atlas Competence Programme contributes towards an even more competent and safe environment. We are doing as much as possible to help our clients reduce risks. The Atlas Competence Programme is a very important tool to help realise this.”

Q: Could you tell us about the Atlas Competence Programme?

Dingena: “The Atlas Competence Programme assures that professionals are competent within their function/field of expertise through a recognised Competence Programme. Crucially, the Programme is fully integrated into the Atlas Quality Management System and is audited and certified in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015.

“It is an easily accessible, digital and full, Quality Management System integrated Competence Management Programme. Atlas can cater for all functions in the industries it serves. It does also meet all the requirements described in the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) freelance framework guidelines where applicable. Currently this is in ROV, Survey and in the Marine roles.”  

Q: And how do clients know that Atlas’ Professionals are fully competent, what do they have to do to demonstrate their abilities?

Dingena: “Atlas provides our Professionals with a Competence Assurance Assessment profile. They then have to fulfil the requirements and this is corroborated by Atlas’ fully trained internal verifiers. 

“Further to the technical self-assessments, which we have introduced in Survey a few years ago, we have added function-specific, self-assessment tools. This is in addition to interviews, appraisals, and supporting work evidence such as operational days, ROV logging hours, DP awareness etc. Plus of course, the Professionals have to hold a valid medical and have the correct qualifications and certificates.

Q: There is a rigorous self-assessment procedure in place; your Professionals are not just ticking boxes? 

Dingena: “No, it is definitely not just box ticking. Professionals have to outline their core competences such as leadership, supervisory roles, managerial skills, what type of equipment they have used, what sort of projects they have been involved in, what (client) specific software they have used, how many times, and if they can train other people etc.

“Our interviews drill down into their career history. For example, offshore - who are their peers, reporting lines, how do they plan their activities and how do they solve problems? With the professionals’ approval, our clients can then access all this information to find exactly the right person and competence for their specific project.

“For our clients, this really gives a detailed, broad overview of the competence level. Clients can see what the Professional has done in their career and what they have not done, which is also important. This is vital when building teams - the client knows exactly who has the skills needed for the project.”

Q: Is there more demand from clients to have a Competence Management system in place?

Dingena: “Yes, it is increasingly becoming a standard request from our clients and part of the tendering process. 

“I used to work for Fugro Survey and I know the importance of integrating professionals into your team and understanding their competence levels. You know they have the experience based on their CV and the comprehensive information Atlas for example has provided, but how are they further competence assured?

“Clients such as Allseas, Boskalis and Fugro all drive Competence Management as we do.”

Q: And is it the eventual aim that the Competence Programme will cater for all industries that Atlas operates in?

Dingena: “Yes, at the moment our competence assurance drive is focused on Survey and ROV and the Drilling and Seismic system will be rolled out in the next few months. Atlas wants to have this programme in all of its core business lines, which differentiates our system from others out there. One of our focus areas in this is Renewables. We believe that no other competitor has the breadth of our programme and that we are a frontrunner amongst the industry’s recruitment agencies, adding value for our clients.”

For further information on the Atlas Competence Programme contact Dingena Peddie-Theunisse at competence@atlasprofessionals.com