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Oil Companies English Testing & Benchmarking

 
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While I was out



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:28 am    Post subject: Oil Companies English Testing & Benchmarking Reply with quote

I'm interested in how oil companies test and evaluate their non-native speakers of English. If you work at an oil company, do you use an external system like TOEFL, or do you use an internally developed English curriculum with no external verification?

I'll be posting the same question in the General Middle East forum.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9441
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exxon uses TOEFL, predictably, both being heavily Texas-based. Or at least they did - I haven't worked with them for a few years now.
Industry-specific language was trained with specialised materials written by the universities where the staff were trained, and further developed and tested on the job, where non-native staff did internships.

Mind you, I dunno how widespread this was even with Exxon - I did a bit of work for them on one of their many programmes. Can't say how widespread this approach may be - but it worked for a whole whack of Sakhalin staff.
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While I was out



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Spiral, that was very helpful. Can you tell me if Exxon had a minimum standard of English for recruitment purposes, and then for progression and specific positions within the company? If you want you could go to PM.
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mstiff84



Joined: 11 Nov 2010
Posts: 24
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never thought of teaching with and oil company. Are there many positions offered and if so, how do you find out about vacancies?
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kazpat



Joined: 04 Jul 2010
Posts: 100
Location: Kazakhstan

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of my students are sent to my language center from Exxon and they need to have a certain level of English for further progression in the company. They are tested. They study like their future depends on it and it does. I found that a couple of my students who work on rigs spoke English just fine but they didn't speak Texan. Smile

I am in Kazakhstan so this is just my experience with Exxon here.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9441
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a similar issue with the Texan English. They'd send a guy up to Calgary for the graduation ceremonies and no-one could comprehend his speech, including me Shocked
Randy-something, I recall...white cowboy hat and cockroach killer boots.
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kazpat



Joined: 04 Jul 2010
Posts: 100
Location: Kazakhstan

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile "cockroach killer boots"

I have a student who works for another company last week tell me they had a technical training with trainers sent from Houston. One guy was American and the other was a Mexican national. He says the locals understood the Mexican dude just fine but had no clue what the guy from Texas said.

OP,

I am not sure if you want to know just about oil companies in Africa and the ME but my wife is Kazakh and works for an international oil company. I asked her and she said that she had an initial test when interviewed but over several years and a couple of promotions she has had no further testing. However, she has native speaking supervisors and basically uses English 90% of the time at work even with other locals, all work related correspondence must be in English. She knows people at other companies that are tested and not tested so it seems pretty varied.

@mstiff84, not sure where you may be interested in but dietsman is a recruiting agency that places teachers with oil companies in KZ. All posts that I have seen from them ask for 10+ years experience including Oil and Gas specific instruction and a DELTA. When there is an opening they post on several TEFL boards.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9441
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far as I know, the oil and gas companies all want fairly solid credentials in ESP and/or a background in the field - they pay well are aren't likely to hire a general/business English teacher with minimal quals.

However, it's a niche worth working up to, if one's interested.
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While I was out



Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great responses so far, thanks everyone.

Would anyone be willing to comment on the levels that companies expect staff to be at or working towards depending on their roles and duties?

For example:

Trainee - low intermediate

Operator/technician - Intermediate

Secretary - Intermediate to high inter

Mid-level managers, line managers - Advanced

And does it make a difference if the people being taught have varying degrees of prior education? A trainee might or might not have a degree already, the same for a secretary, but a line manager would usually have a degree in engineering and a human resources or PR person usually would have a degree in that field, yes?

Do specific companies measure using TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS, or is everything strictly in house?

Does that have an impact on company expectations regarding their professional development?
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23klicks



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:54 pm    Post subject: fourth post Reply with quote

Happy Labor Day Everyone!
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nosensenonsense



Joined: 21 Mar 2013
Posts: 3
Location: South Africa and Poland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to kick up a 2 year old post but I would love any information on these kind of jobs. I would assume the hours are insane and the working conditions would follow suit?
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 729
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:06 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I've done rotational work for years. Generally, the better jobs gets filled by word of mouth.
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