UPOP: Paving the way for the Upstream workforce of tomorrow
Upstream program helps employees adapt to a rapidly evolving workforce and industry.
Aramco’s Upstream Business Support Department (UBSD) held an Upstream Professionals Onboarding Program (UPOP) Completion Ceremony recently in honor of the 2021 and 2022 intakes, at the Plaza in Dhahran.
The event was attended by Upstream executive vice president Nasir K. Al Naimi, as well as other members of management from across the business line. Some 338 Upstream employees received their formal completion certificates.
The proceedings included a session presented by the graduates themselves, highlighting the outcomes of their work projects. Wail A. Jaafari, senior vice president of Southern Area Gas Operations (SAGO), also delivered a keynote speech stressing the synergies between contextual understanding, workplace culture, continuous learning, and high achievement.
In the 12 years since UPOP was established, more than 2,500 professionals have completed the program, which provides Upstream employees with a multidisciplinary foundation for ongoing professional development and effective job performance.
UPOP demonstrates just how serious we within Aramco Upstream are about investing in our people and nurturing the development of a new crew that is fully fit-for-purpose and future-ready. An exciting new era of oil and gas exploration and production beckons, and Saudi Aramco is intent on being right at the forefront of it.
— Nasir K. Al Naimi
Ensuring smooth transitions in a rapidly evolving field
The scheme was conceived in response to a rapidly evolving operating context and demographic environment characterized by an aging workforce, an industrywide shortage of experienced manpower, and technological innovations that have radically reshaped Upstream.
Yousif Al-Tahan, UBSD director, said: “The task at hand was essentially to find a way to ensure a smooth transition of personnel with minimal disruption to operations while simultaneously anticipating the learning curve required to fill the job functions of the future. This necessitated designing an effective mechanism for developing large numbers of inexperienced professionals, many of whom nowadays exhibit different skill sets and learning styles compared to previous generations.”
What distinguishes UPOP from most conventional enablement schemes is the sheer level of cross-discipline technical depth and breadth that it confers, alongside plenty of training in behavioral competencies such as teamwork and communication skills.
The program accelerates the integration of new hires into the Upstream corporate and technical culture and serves as an initial bridge between academic and professional life, enabling employees to make an immediate impact.
Equally notable are the innovative learning methodologies deployed during the five-week program. Eschewing classical competency mapping in favor of a data-driven, curricula-based approach to training, focus is placed on job outcomes and the transference of learnings into improved job performance, as opposed to individual knowledge accumulation.
Bite-size, immersive learning techniques and highly interactive, gamified environments — characterized by virtual and augmented reality, simulators, 3D visualization, and much more— have meanwhile gone a long way to enhancing and accelerating the overall learning experience. The program reflects a concerted effort to instill new insights and behaviors across the entire business line.
Caption for top photo: Nasir K. Al Naimi poses with some of the 338 Upstream employees who recently received their formal Upstream Professionals Onboarding Program completion certificates.