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Competence – IMCA workshop update and news of freelance materials

Published on 17 July 2012

The competence agenda is growing rapidly in both profile and pace around the globe. The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has done much to promote competence and the adoption of its framework over the past 12 years. One method is by means of workshops – one earlier this year in Aberdeen, which looked at different aspects of competence, had a record attendance; it was followed by one in Houston in mid-June where the emphasis was on the US government’s Safety Environmental Management System (SEMS) requirements which includes competence; and a further competence workshop will be held in Dubai on 25 September 2012.

IMCA’s freelance personnel competence assurance and assessment packs were originally launched in 2005 and have been updated to better reflect the needs of a freelance staff that now makes up an estimated 20% of the offshore workforce.

“With that 20% figure in mind, there was considerable interest in the presentation in Aberdeen by Neil Evans, our new Competence & Training Technical Adviser on our newly revised freelance competence materials,” says Hugh Williams, IMCA’s Chief Executive. “His presentation was complemented by Dirk-Jan van Leeuwen’s overview on the philosophy of the Atlas Services Group employment agency, in which he explained how they intend building competence into their records of the freelance personnel they represent.

“It is hoped that agencies will champion the cause for freelancers to show evidence of competence. This is very much a three-way responsibility with contractors and the personnel themselves needing to shoulder responsibility as well as the agencies. The industry needs all three to work together to ensure consistency, sustainability, and a win-win-win outcome.”

Based on the IMCA competence framework, the revised freelance documents are now available free of charge for remote systems & ROV and offshore survey positions at – with marine and diving division positions to follow shortly. They can be used by one or more assessors to measure an individual’s competence, to assist freelance personnel in getting assessed and verified by appropriately qualified personnel.

The aim is for freelance personnel to be able to assemble a portfolio of evidence, containing work records and details on assessments, which can be provided to employers in a common format that can be recognised and understood by IMCA member contractors. It should benefit both the companies involved, through being able to use these records to assess potential personnel, aiding identification of training requirements and avoiding potential unnecessary duplication of effort, and the individual freelancers, who should find it easier to demonstrate their experience and move from company to company as required, as well as furthering their career promotion progress.

Further information on IMCA, its work and publications is available from the website at and from IMCA, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521; email: [email protected] for general enquiries; [email protected] for information on all publications and [email protected] for information on the Dubai competence workshop, which is open to members and non-members alike.