I’m Nicol Webster. I’m based in Aberdeenshire and have been consulting for over 21 years, running my own firm. I am a learning and HR professional with a wealth of experience in 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 to many different rigs and platforms. My CPD has included formal training in Culture and Effectiveness, Consultancy Skills, Negotiating Skills and Behavioural Safety.
Apart from oil & gas, my consulting work has covered a broad range of clients in refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, generation, engineering, professional services, the third sector and education. It is project-based and short-term – to enable change, not build dependence. Almost all my work comes by referral, and I have successfully completed over 100 assignments with some 250 organisations across the UK, Europe, North America, 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, Offshore Design Engineering 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 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 have 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 have 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.