Training beyond the textbook

The Group Core Values were the founding principle for Maersk Training, established in the 1970s to provide greater safety and security for offshore workers. Nearly 40 years later, the Values are driving business at a new training centre.

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See how Martin Brand uses Maersk Values every day in his work as a trainer. 2:08

Maersk Training

  • Maersk Training is an independent business with training facilities worldwide that are open to all companies. It has invested heavily in building advanced simulators to provide realistic training
  • It has more than 200 different courses, based on the conviction that training should be as close to real life as possible, and carries out training equivalent to more than 100,000 man-days per year
  • Maersk Training aims to assist customers in improving safety and operational performance and has a number of specialised training areas: Oil and Gas, Maritime, Wind, Survival, Safety and Security, People Skills, and Crane Operation

When offshore workers turn a corner in Maersk Training’s new Houston facility, they are reminded of what keeps them safe on their rigs – Constant Care and Humbleness.

These are two of the five Maersk Group Core Values, which guide the behaviour of employees and outline how it does business, and are detailed on the walls of this state-of-the-art facility, where advanced simulators allow oil and gas companies to test operations in a life-like but safe environment.

“It’s about when you give your word. You only have to disappoint a customer once and they never believe you again,” says Maersk Training CEO Claus Bihl. “Our partners all have the same opinion of what the Maersk name means, high quality, and they never question it. It’s extremely important that we maintain that.”

The Values are not only integral to safe and efficient operations, but also Maersk Training’s quest for new business as it hosts ever more employees of other companies that trust it to give their staff the necessary skills. BP, Transocean and Seadrill are just some of the external companies that Maersk Training has signed new contracts with in 2015. And its extensive work with Maersk Drilling has helped provide the skills and experience needed to ensure a fleet of advanced new rigs and drillships is operating safely and efficiently.

“We would not want to do any business without the Values. They’re part of how we do business. It’s our culture,” Bihl says.

Doing it the right way

Maersk Training was founded in 1978 as the result of a human error, which led to an accident on the Maersk Explorer rig in the North Sea. Having decided that no other company was offering training that was good enough to prevent such incidents in the future, the Group decided it would be better to do it the right way itself – namely, taking care of today and actively preparing for tomorrow.

Maersk Traning
Martin Brand uses the Values every day in his work as a trainer at the Houston facility. If better safety standards had applied on the rig he worked on a decade ago, he could have avoided an injury that ended his offshore career.
Group Values

Today, the spacious and high-ceilinged entrance to the Houston Centre, with its bold clean lines and images of scenes from the offshore industry, leads to a complex of simulators – a ship’s bridge as it rides on undulating waves, a rig as the driller explores under the seabed for oil, a supply vessel hoisting deliveries on to an offshore installation.

The investment in such advanced simulators and trainers with experience of offshore work provides realistic training and more than textbook theory.

Combined with a focus on human factors – such as teamwork, procedural discipline, communication, decision making and situational awareness – this ensures that crews are prepared as well as possible before they engage in an actual operation. This improves safety, saves time and makes them better prepared to handle unexpected events.

Lessons from the past

Martin Brand uses the Values every day in his work as a trainer. He knows that if better safety standards had applied on the rig he worked on a decade ago, he could have avoided an injury that ended his offshore career.

Maersk Traning Martin

Brand’s hand was crushed while he was working in the North Sea, when a combination of operator error, being in the wrong place and a lack of communication between changing personnel contributed to an accident. When he recovered, the hand remained too painful to work offshore, but it led him on a new path and he draws on that experience today when training others to work safely and efficiently.

“There are valuable lessons from what happened – procedures, following correct techniques, situational awareness. It is all about actively preparing today for what happens tomorrow, and the Values are ever present in our simulators and classrooms,” Brand says.

“Uprightness is very important. Sometimes others have more experience and knowledge and as a trainer, you have to acknowledge that. You always have to remain humble and there will always be people attending who have more experience. You have to be honest and if anything, it adds to your authority.”