SPE 101

How SPE’s Competency Management Tool Can Help Boost Your Career Development

If you are a recent graduate trying to find a spot in the sun, or a young professional working hard to establish yourself in the industry, it is essential for you to define and follow an individual development plan that will steer you toward your professional goals.

To help you with that, SPE, in partnership with International Human Resource Development Corp., has recently developed the SPE Competency Management Tool (CMT). The CMT is an online platform that allows each member to not only assess his or her competency levels in detail, but also guides them in addressing any competency gaps.

Since its launch at the 2014 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, the number of members using the tool has continued to increase, and as of May 2015, the tool had 1,431 registered users.

To explain how the CMT can help young professionals in their career development, TWA editors interviewed SPE’s assistant director for global training programs, Ken Leonard, who worked with the SPE Global Training Committee to develop and implement the tool.

Who is the CMT built for?

CMT is intended for members interested in assessing their current skills against the SPE competency models for any of the 22 technical jobs covered. Since there are two career levels for each job (entry level and first supervisory level), we expect many users to be earlier in their career. However, anyone making a job change or wishing to get an idea of how they compare to the rigorous SPE standards can gain value from the tool.

What disciplines does the tool cover? Does SPE plan to expand the number of competency models in the future?

The current competency models cover all the SPE technical disciplines. We took 22 job descriptions and developed 25 to 30 competencies for each job, with four skill levels—awareness, basic application, skillful application, and mastery. We have plans to enhance the tool this year by adding more jobs from operating companies as well as jobs from the service company sector and for graduating engineers.

Briefly explain how young professionals might go about using the CMT?

It is easy to use and free. An SPE member can simply sign in, navigate to the training page, and find the link to the tool ( It can be used as often as a person desires and your work can be saved. There is no system to integrate the output with corporate performance agreements. How the reports are used is up to the member.

What benefits does the CMT offer to young professionals that they might not already have access to?

This system is unique in that it is private; only the user knows the content of his or her assessment. The intent is to give the SPE member the ability to take charge of his or her career and use periodic assessments as a tool to help discuss career options with their supervisor or mentor.

How does the tool present the result of the assessment?

CMT was developed to provide a snapshot of where a member is at a specific point in time compared to the chosen job and competency model. The output of the CMT is a “gap analysis” that identifies areas where an individual needs additional training. It also produces a customized learning plan that provides recommendations for SPE training courses or other resources that can help a person fill the identified gaps.

What will the user find in the individual learning plan?

The learning plan will identify relevant training courses, from SPE, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and American Association of Petroleum Geologists, as well as from some third party commercial providers that have offerings in specific areas that may be useful. It can also include recommendations for attending conferences and workshops or reading OnePetro ( papers and books.

After the self-assessment phase, will the user have a deadline to complete the recommendations suggested in the learning plan?

No, there is no deadline to address gaps, take courses, or any other action. Timing is completely up to the individual.

SPE has nearly 50,000 student members around the world. Do you see an opportunity for the CMT to take precedence in the academic community?

No, the CMT is designed to provide a practical assessment of skills that will be needed to bridge from school to employer.

To learn more about  the CMT and to use the tool, please visit


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