I’m Nicol Webster. Based in Aberdeenshire, I operated as an independent consultant for 25 years. I am now fully retired and not seeking work. As a learning and HR professional I built up a wealth of experience helping employers find innovative risk-based strategies to improve business performance through effective management of people and their competence. I have a passionate interest in people, ideas, and organisational learning as drivers of change, growth and competitiveness.
After postgraduate history research at Oxford and a successful early career as a teacher, I joined Shell in 1976. I spent 16 years there in senior roles in industrial relations, HR, training, and safety – and travelled offshore frequently. My CPD has included formal training in Culture and Effectiveness, Consultancy Skills, Negotiating Skills and Behavioural Safety.
Apart from oil & gas, my consulting work covered a broad range of clients in oil refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, generation, engineering, professional services, the third sector and education. It was always project-based and short-term – to enable change, not build dependence. Almost all my work came by referral, and I successfully completed well over 100 assignments with some 300 organisations across the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East, South-East Asia, Japan and Australasia.
I developed integrated competence management systems for Eni, Shell UK, E.ON-Ruhrgas, Enterprise Oil, Shell International, Petronas, Noble Drilling, ODE and Baker Oil Tools, as well as many smaller companies. I produced competency qualifications for graduate design engineers and engineering managers, project-managed the early development of the upstream industry technician training scheme, and designed core-competence frameworks for East of England energy companies. I also project-managed the industry development training standards for offshore safety reps.
I was a consultant to the Oil & Gas Industry Task Force, conducted research for the Japanese government on UK safety training and competence, and my other research studies included the growth characteristics of small companies, and the links between competence and business performance in SMEs. I contributed a chapter on employment issues to “The Technical and Legal Guide to the UK Oil and Gas Industry” published by Aberlour Press. I am also a Member of the Energy Institute.
As a side-line, I developed competence management databases, software tools to assess the risk of competence failure, and a suite of web-enabled tools to help SMEs manage intellectual capital.