Training Course Accreditation

Introduction

A key part of developing a competency is training. Training is an educational or instructional process (e.g., classroom, computer-based, or on-the-job) aimed at improving an individual’s knowledge and skills through demonstration, instruction and practice.

There are a number of competency 1 standards in the literature [e.g., 1, 2]: examples of available competency standards are listed in Appendix A.  Training is a requirement in meeting these standards, and this training must be designed to meet the requirements of the standards.

The Qualification Panel for the Pipeline Industry (QP) certifies individuals and organisations who meet certain competency standards, but it can also accredit training course or program 2 content, as meeting the requirements for training in the relevant competency standard.  This accreditation is performed against the competency standard.  Each competency standard has a level of competency: Appendix B gives an example [1, 2] these levels, and the assessment is performed against this level.

Objective

This document sets out the process of accreditation (Section 6) of training courses or programs by the QP.

Organisations wanting a Course/Program to be Accredited by the QP

Course/program organisers should fill in the form in Appendix C if they are seeking accreditation, and send it to the QP. The QP will accredit course/program content, and will confirm that the content meets the training requirement in the relevant competency standard. The QP does not accredit trainers, or any assessment method.

It is not practical to accredit trainers, as the same course can be presented by multiple trainers, but a trainer for the course would be expected to be on a higher competency level than the competency level of the training course/program (e.g., Appendix B).

Accredited Courses

A course or program accredited by the QP does not state or imply that certification of an individual or organisation by the QP would be simpler, easier or less expensive if the course or program is taken and passed.

Impartiality of QP

Appendix D is a statement of impartiality.

QP Accreditation Procedure

  1. SUBMISSION: Course/program organiser submits form in Appendix C, with course/program content, and competency standard(s) (e.g., Appendix A), and competency level (e.g., Appendix B) the course/program relates to. Most of the competency standards in Appendix A are included in the ROSEN Competencies Standard Manual, available from ROSEN (https://competence.rosen-group.com/)
  2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: QP responds to course/program organiser, with acknowledgement of receipt of form, and gives a course/program identifier (Course ID/Number/Year).
  3. ASSESSORS: QP appoints panel member and relevant subject matter expert (SME) to assess submission of course/program organiser.
  4. CONFIRMATION: QP (panel member and SME) responds to course/program organiser with: (a) initial assessment (insufficient materials on submission (with indication of materials missing) or, (b) sufficient materials submitted).
  5. ASSESSMENT: Assuming sufficient materials, QP assesses course/program content.
  6. DECISION: QP informs course organiser of its decision to accredit (yes/no):
    1. If ‘no’ reasons for not accrediting will be submitted. The QP can recommend additions/changes to the course to allow it to meet the competency standard.
    2. If ‘yes’ a formal communication will be sent to the organiser, with the course/program identifier, and confirmation that the course/program organiser can state ‘This course/program meets the training requirements in [organisation publishing the standard] competency standard (title, number, level)’.
  7. APPEAL: There is no appeal against the QP’s decision (but see Appendix D).
  8. RESUBMISSION: One resubmission is allowed.
  9. VALIDITY: The accreditation is for 5 years.
  10. REACCREDITATION: After 5 years the course/program organiser must reapply for accreditation
  11. CHANGES TO CONTENT: no reductions or substantial changes are allowed to the course/program content. ‘Substantial’ is more than 10% of content. Updating content (e.g., references to standards, latest research findings, etc.) are not considered changes.

Fee

The QP will charge a fee for this accreditation service.

References

  1. M Unger, P Hopkins, ‘Competency Standards for the Pipeline Industry’, 12th International Pipeline Conference, IPC 2018. Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Paper IPC2018-78477. September, 2018.
  2. M Unger, P Hopkins, ‘The Competency Standard Manual for Pipeline Integrity Management’. Journal of Pipeline Engineering. September, 2018.
  3. P Strahlendorf, ‘”Reasonably Practicable” in Health, Safety and Environmental Legislation’, Report for Natural Resources Canada. Toronto University, Canada. 30th June, 2016.
  4. Anon., ‘Pipeline Transportation Systems for Liquids and Slurries’, American Society of Mechanical Engineers. ASME B31.4-2016. 2016.
  5. P Hopkins, M Unger, ‘What is a ‘Subject Matter Expert’?’, Journal of Pipeline Engineering. December, 2017.
  6. https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/Files/Pipeline%20Training/OQ%20Guide/e_Chapter_II.pdf
  7. S Little, T Ray, ‘Managing Knowledge’, 2nd Edition. Open University. Sage Publications. London. 2011.
  8. Anon., ‘Cathodic protection – Competence levels and certification of cathodic protection personnel’. BS EN 15257:2006 (EN15257}. December, 2006.
  9. M Unger, P Hopkins, ‘’Competency’ in Engineering’, 28th International Pipeline Pigging and Integrity Management Conference Houston, USA, February 8-11, 2016.
  10. M Unger, P Hopkins, ‘A Qualification Route Map for the Pipeline Industry’, Pipeline Pigging & Integrity Management Conference. 27 February 2017 to 2nd March 2017. George R. Brown Convention Centre, Houston, USA.

Appendices

APPENDIX A: EXAMPLES OF COMPETENCY STANDARDS [1, 2]

Standard Title
CS_000 Subject Matter Expert
CS_001 Pipeline Engineering Principles
CS_002 Pipeline Engineers: Ethics & Responsibilities
CS_003 The Oil and Gas Industry
CS_004 Pipeline Project Control 
CS_005 Pipeline Inspection and Surveillance
CS_006 Onshore Laws, Regulations & Standards
CS_007 Subsea Laws, Regulations & Standards
CS_008 Pipeline Hydraulics
CS_009 Pipeline Risk Management 
CS_010 Onshore Pipeline Design
CS_011 Subsea Pipeline Design
CS_012 Pipeline Repair
CS_013 Pipeline Materials
CS_014 Pipeline Integrity Management 
CS_015 Internal Corrosion Mechanisms
CS_016 Internal Corrosion Prevention and Monitoring
CS_017 External Corrosion and Prevention
CS_018 Onshore Pipeline Construction
CS_019 Subsea Pipeline Construction
CS_020 Pipeline Defect Assessment
CS_021 Non-Destructive Testing Technologies
CS_022 In-Line Inspection Technologies & Procedures
CS_023 Pipeline Inspection Technologies & Procedures
CS_024 Pipeline Preparation and Cleaning
CS_025 Cathodic Protection and Monitoring
CS_026 ILI Data Analysis and Reporting
CS_027 Pipeline Inspection Data Management
CS_028 Onshore Pipeline Operation
CS_029 Subsea Pipeline Operation
CS_030 Stress Analysis
CS_031 Verification of Inspection Results
CS_032 Fracture Mechanics
CS_033 Failure Analysis
CS_034 Pipeline Welding 
CS_035 Pipeline Testing
CS_036 Onshore Pipeline Routing
CS_037 Subsea Pipeline Routing
CS_038 Subsea Surveys
CS_039 Decommissioning and Alternatives
CS_040 Risers, Flexibles, Pipe-in-pipe, and Umbilicals
CS_041 Deep Water Pipelines
CS_042 Failure Modes and Mechanisms 
CS_043 Risk Analysis Tools/Techniques
CS_044 Probability of Failure Analysis
CS_045 Consequence Analysis
CS_046 Pipeline Inspection Principles
CS_047 Health, Safety, Environment, Security
CS_048 Pipeline Defects
CS_049 Topside and Subsea Equipment and Control
CS_050 Crack Management
CS_051 Geotechnics

APPENDIX B: EXAMPLE OF COMPETENCY LEVELS [1, 2]

Competency Level (characteristic) Description Knowledge Supervision Responsibility Summary
Awareness (probation) This level is for new or inexperienced individuals with no competencies, and individuals (such as senior managers) who only want an ‘awareness’ of a competency. These individuals can be considered in a ‘probation’ or ‘awareness’ period, where time is allowed for a job holder to demonstrate basic understanding of the job competencies, but is not required to carry out work without close and continuous supervision in all of the tasks associated with the competency. Can interpret and evaluate the knowledge, and can both communicate it and present coherent arguments.
Foundation (knowledge) Understanding of effects and consequences. Knowledge and understanding of best practice3. Is able to carry out work with supervision. The Practitioner/ Expert supervises their work. Critical understanding and analysis of the knowledge, and able to apply the knowledge.
Practitioner (application) Demonstrates competence to select the most appropriate options. Aware of current developments, and has demonstrated experience4, and can apply knowledge to new situations. No supervision required. Can supervise Foundation Level. Able to self- manage, with a critical and systematic understanding of the knowledge, and can make judgements and propose solutions.
Expert (creation) Breadth of experience and knowledge. Deep understanding of best practices. Demonstrated managerial skills to undertake overall responsibility of a function, and can apply new knowledge to new situations, and deliver solutions. Can train and assess others. Can supervise Practitioner Level. A self-learner with a critical awareness of current and complex issues and best practices, and is able to do original work, deal with multiple problems, able to explain theoretical bases and weaknesses, and can propose new solutions. A subject matter expert 5.

APPENDIX C: COURSE ACCREDITATION FORM

 

COURSE ACCREDITATION
Company  
Course Title  
Proposed Dates  
Location  
Duration (hours/days)  
Has course been run before? (give number of times)  
COURSE DETAILS
Course Objective6  
Course Type (classroom, e-learn, workshop, field, etc.)  
Course Attendees (level/type)  
Course Attendees education/experience requirements  
Course Attendees pre-requisites (e.g., attendance at other courses)  
Course Attendees co-requisites (e.g., attendance at other courses)  
Language of Course Notes  
LEARNING OUTCOMES
Course Learning Outcomes7
1
2
3
etc.
COMPETENCY STANDARD AND COMPETENCY LEVEL OF COURSE
Competency standard(s) relevant to this Course (give number and title – see Appendix A)  
Competency Level (s) (awareness, foundation, practitioner, expert (see Appendix B)  
ASSESSMENT
Assessment (yes/no)?  
Assessment method (examination, interview, etc.)  
Assessment process (e.g., closed-book examination, on-line quiz, etc.)  
Assessor (person, organisation, etc.)  
Assessment security (e.g., invigilation)  
Is any certification presented to attendees (e.g., attendance certificate)?  
TRAINER(s)
Proposed Trainer(s)  
DOCUMENTS TO BE SUBMITTED TO QP

1. Course contents in full (attach to form)

 

2. Description and example of assessment (if assessment is provided) – see Appendix E for example assessment.

 

3. Example of any certificate given to attendees

 

APPENDIX D: STATEMENT OF IMPARTIALITY

D.1 Approval of Training

Training is often a specified requirement of a certification scheme. The Qualification Panel for the Pipeline Industry (QP) may be required to recognize/approve this training. This recognition/approval must not compromise impartiality8 or reduce the assessment and certification requirements.

D.2 Prohibition of Approval of Provision of Training Services

The QP will provide information regarding education and training if they are used as pre-requisites for being eligible for certification. However, the QP will not state or imply that certification would be simpler, easier or less expensive if any specified education/training services are used.

D.3 Impartiality of Training Provision

ISO 17024 [6] states ‘Offering training and certification for persons within the same legal entity constitutes a threat to impartiality’.

The QP is independent, but its members can be part of a legal entity, and the QP costs are covered by ROSEN Group. When a member of the QP, or any legal entity associated with the member, or ROSEN Group offer training, the QP will:

  1. identify and document the associated threats to its impartiality on an ongoing basis: the QP shall have a documented process to demonstrate how it eliminates or minimizes those threats (see Section D.4);
  2. demonstrate that all processes performed by the QP are independent of training to ensure that confidentiality, information security, and impartiality are not compromised;
  3. not give the impression that the use of both services would provide any advantage to the applicant;
  4. not require the candidates to complete the QP’s own education or training as an exclusive prerequisite when alternative education or training with an equivalent outcome exists;
  5. ensure that personnel do not serve as an examiner of a specific candidate they have trained for a period of two years from the date of the conclusion of the training activities: this interval may be shortened if the QP demonstrates it does not compromise impartiality.

D.4 Threat Assessment

The QP recognises the threat to impartiality. The following process is applied to eliminate or minimizes those threats:

  • All courses/programs accredited by the QP will have at least one (of the two) assessors who is not a member (or past member) of the QP. A course or program cannot be accredited without the approval of this external assessor.
  • The external assessor will ensure the QP accreditation procedure (Section 6) is followed in all cases.
  • The QP auditor will verify and document, on an annual basis, that this threat assessment, and the QP accreditation procedure, has been followed for every submission.

APPENDIX E: EXAMPLE OF ASSESSMENT (EXAMINATION) OF INDIVIDUAL ATTENDING COURSE

E.1 Introduction

Competency standards give the necessary detail of the competency, and its level (Awareness to Expert).  This allows a simple assessment against the standards [1, 2, 9, 10].

There are various types of assessments; for example, Figure E.1.  This Appendix gives an example of an examination.

Assessment Methods
Assessment Methods

E.2 Example of Examination

This section gives a summary of a classroom-based examination on a course entitled ‘Onshore Pipeline Engineering Course Examination’.

Examinations can be classroom-based (for example, following a course), or internet based (for example, over Skype), or interview-based.


Examination

1. INSTRUCTIONS

This is a ‘multi-choice’ examination. It is intended to test your comprehension and critical thinking.

ANSWERING: Read the question, and then tick (✓) the box with the correct answer. Tick one box only. Example:

1. What is 2 + 2?
a 4
b 8  
c 12  
d 16  

CHANGING ANSWERS: If you want to change your answer, scribble over your tick, and place another tick in the new answer.

DURATION: There are 30 questions. You have 60 minutes to complete the examination. The examiner will warn you as this 60 minute deadline is approached.

FINISH: When you have completed the examination, hand this examination paper to the examiner, and leave the room.

CLOSED BOOK: It is a ‘closed book’ examination – you cannot use any reference materials.

TALKING: You cannot talk to anyone during the examination, unless you have a question for the examiner.

CALCULATOR: A scientific calculator is needed for this examination. Cell phone calculators cannot be used.

TOILET BREAKS: There are no toilet breaks. You must remain in the room for 60 minutes.

CELL PHONES: All cell phones must be switched off, not visible, and placed in a bag/pocket.

EMERGENCIES: Immediately tell the examiner if there is an emergency.

2. DETAILS

Please complete the details below:

Name (CAPITAL LETTERS)  
Job title  
Are you non-technical (e.g., a translator, or an accountant)? (Yes/No)  
Email address  
Company (e.g., ExxonMobil)  
Country where you work (e.g., Germany)  
Nationality (e.g., Nigerian)  
Years of experience in the pipeline business (e.g., 4 years)  
Date  

Questions

1.

Oil and gas is derived from ancient sea life, which became trapped in rock formations. What is the name of the rock that originally contained the hydrocarbons?
a Trap  
b Reservoir  
c Seal  
d Mother  

 

2.

What is the API value of ‘heavy’ crude oil?
a Fewer than 20  
b 20 to 30  
c 30 to 50  
d More than 50  

Then… another 28 questions.

  1. Competencies of a job holder need to be assessed against a standard to ensure validation. ‘Competency standards’ provide a common definition of a competency, with its minimum requirements.
  2. A program is a specified group of courses or training modules leading to a qualification.
  3. ‘Good practices’ are practices, documents, and guidelines produced by: government departments; standards-making organisations (e.g. ISO, ASME, CEN); trade federations; professional institution; etc.. They are readily available, and recognized as current practice. They can be considered ‘minimum’ requirements. ‘Best practice’ goes beyond these ‘good practices’, and would be expected to be the best available practice, supported by other practices that give a measured and demonstrable improvement. Being ‘the best’ and ‘best practices’ are not the same thing. A ‘best practice’ may have been accepted by the profession or industry, but there may well be a better practice in existence somewhere in the world, which eventually will be accepted as the new best practice, but in the meanwhile, it is reasonable to continue with the existing best practice, and it is not necessary to search for this more novel best practice [3]
  4. ‘Experience’ is work activity accomplished under the direction of qualified supervision, but excluding time spent in organized training programs [4]. It indicates the workplace experience required to demonstrate competency. This will include years of experience, level of experience, and type of experience. Experience is the process of obtaining knowledge and skills from doing and/or participating in relevant projects, and the accumulation of knowledge and skills leads to a competency.
  5. A subject matter expert (SME) is often quoted in the literature and regulations [5]. The USA Department of Transportation (which regulates pipelines) defines ‘subject matter expert’ as [6]… ‘An individual recognized as having a special skill or specialized knowledge of a process in a particular field, or of a piece of equipment.’ It is likely that a subject matter expert will need at least 10 years of relevant experience [7, 8], although some caution is needed with older engineers: ‘Old-timers have the wisdom… but are at risk if they don’t keep up with the scientific and technical knowledge of the profession.’ [3].
  6. A learning objective gives the way to meeting the aim (intent) of the course or program. Objectives should be simple, and a maximum of about five
  7. Assessment is against the ‘learning outcomes’. A Learning outcome identifies what the learner will know and be able to do by the end of a course or program. The learning outcomes give measurable results from studying a course or a program. The outcomes are related to the competencies embedded in the course or program.
  8. Impartiality is the presence of objectivity. Objectivity means that conflicts of interest do not exist, or are resolved, so as not to adversely influence subsequent activities of the certification body.