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Kirsten Howkins

Virtual Train the Trainer Blog

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Virtual Train the Trainer Blog

COVID-19 changed how we operated, with the delivery of our Train the Trainer and Assessor Training courses impacted. We could no longer hold these courses face to face in global locations due to the global travel restrictions imposed from March 2020.

We had to quickly diversify and adapt our delivery methods to ensure we could continue to effectively deliver these courses and maintain competency standards for new instructor and assessors seeking accreditation.

Tracey Jayne Little who delivers our Train the Trainer course, has written a short blog explaining her experience of adapting the Train the Trainer course for the virtual world and the impact this has had on her training of instructors.

“I have been involved in the development and delivery of e-learning for the past 15 years; the events of the last 12 months have really pushed companies to look at alternatives to classroom-based learning.

Our Train the Trainer programme is very well-suited to virtual classroom (Zoom). Breakout rooms facilitate discussion and activities in small groups as learners are very much in control of their own learning. This is then strengthened by them writing their answers on a virtual whiteboard in breakout rooms and then sharing it in main classroom. This type of hands-on interactive activity embeds the learning. I have actually found it generates more discussion than in the real-life classroom, plus learners’ love being in control of the sharing!

I also have found the ‘chat’ function in Zoom is a huge teaching aid. Not only does it encourage quieter learners to ask questions privately, but I can also use it to privately message learners (when you see eyes down and you know the mobile phone has made an appearance!). Also, for those learners who may experience some difficulty in understanding real-time speed English but can read perfectly, I continually put key points in the ‘chat’ and write key points of every topic on a whiteboard, sharing it on chat-file share. I feel this really adds to the learning. The use of emojis echoes Smartphone technology – learners love them, and it lightens the lesson. I also use a WhatsApp group to support learners – easily accessible technology.

I absolutely love teaching by virtual classroom. I believe it can be a dynamic, inspirational, supportive and inspiring learning solution. The key is using all its functionality so that it truly stays student-centred and keeps the learners engaged. You have to make it mirror the real-life classroom such as possible with pre-class “virtual coffees” and putting learners into breakout rooms in breaks so they can build relationships.

I feel, based on learner feedback and results, that virtual classroom has enhanced the whole Train the Trainer learner experience. In line with good practice, the course was extended from three real-life classroom days to four on guidance from ILM (part of the City & Guilds Group) who also endorse this qualification globally as TJS International is an ILM global Recognised Provider. This creates more course time, shorter days with frequent breaks and increased learner support. This embeds the learning more fully as seen in the results since the use of virtual classroom. Learners do take advantage of the support time and stay behind at the end of class for 1-1 time in breakout rooms whereas in the real-life classroom, everyone gets their coat on!

I feel that Train the Trainer by virtual classroom offers a highly accessible, engaging learner journey with some added benefits for global training.”


Places are available on our Train the Trainer courses in August, September and October 2021. Click here for more information and the upcoming course dates.

Board Chair Retirement

By News

Mr Zdenek Sehnal (pictured below) has informed the IWCF Board of his retirement from his role as IWCF Board Chairman. 

Mr Sehnal has held the position of IWCF Board Chairman since 2016, while also representing the Norwegian Branch as Branch Chair. He has led the organisation through a period of substantial change, most recently navigating the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of virtual training and assessments.  

Mr Jamie Wilson, Vice Chair of the IWCF Board of Trustees will adopt the role of Acting Board Chair, effective immediately.  

IWCF’s Board and administration would like to thank Mr Sehnal for his hard work and dedication as we’ve worked towards furthering our mission and vision.  

Mr Wilson commented. “Zdenek assumed the Chairman’s role at a pivotal time of the IWCF’s direction. With his calm manner and diplomacy, coupled with very considerable personal effort, he enabled the Board to enjoy a period of effective and harmonised activity. Furthermore, he has been instrumental in leading the development of IWCF’s strategy to deliver well control training to a standard expected by the global industry.  

The Board has requested Mr Sehnal to assume a consulting role with the IWCF Administration to continue assisting with the implementation of the strategy and support the CEO with various technical and training matters.


Translations: Why a glossary is a valuable translation tool

By Blog

The IWCF translation team is responsible for coordinating and overseeing the translation of IWCF exam content into 16 languages. The team are working to embed a new translation process which aims to improve quality. This includes the development of an expanded translation team, the use of new technology to improve workflows and developing linguistic resources to assist translators and reviewers. One of our areas of responsibility is to help build and maintain glossaries for the most commonly used languages in IWCF centres. While not the only factor in maintaining quality, these glossaries are very important for preserving consistency across a complex field, which make them valuable resources for IWCF and our stakeholders.

The field is vast, but the glossaries are a select choice of terms which act as a point of reference, and they are focused on the terms that appear most often in assessments. These help the translators and reviewers make sure that the correct technical terms are used, especially when there is more than one possible option. If translators did not have access to them, it would be like a reconnaissance team trying to complete a mission in thick fog with no GPS or map – some would go north, others would go south, and every so often someone might get stuck in a bog or fall off a cliff – in the worst-case scenario of course!

We don’t expect IWCF translators to over-rely on a glossary in place of their own knowledge and experience. However, the terms have been specifically selected for inclusion to help maintain consistency and quality, therefore our job is to ensure adherence.

To date we have piloted the use of glossaries in 5 languages (French, German, Italian, Norwegian and Russian) and are working with the branches to continuously improve their content. However, there are a few other languages where it has made sense to draft glossaries based on the work taking place. For example, as part of the process to translate the drilling question bank into Azeri we have recorded how technical terms are used and these inform the translators as they work through the project.

The IWCF translation team wants to make sure that the glossary and its equivalent translated versions contain the most up-to-date and accurate terminology for each language. This can be a challenge, but by working with our branches we can harness the expert technical knowledge of our members to aid us in the task. We aim to extend this process to cover all languages we offer.

You are welcome to discuss the importance of glossaries at Branch level and can contact the Translation Team at for more information.

Virtual Training and Assessments Update

By News

IWCF introduced virtual training and assessments in 2020 due to the impact that COVID-19 had upon face-to-face training. Piloting this alternative method of training enabled well control personnel to maintain competency despite travel restrictions and social distancing measures that have been in place.

To help us maintain and assure the high standards of quality and integrity expected at IWCF, we have been conducting extensive analysis of data throughout this period. This evaluation has demonstrated the efficacy of IWCF virtual classroom training and remote assessments.

This evidence-based approach has also been utilised to measure performance, monitor success and identify opportunities for improvement. One of the key findings from the analysis, supported by statistical evidence, show that there is no functional difference in candidate assessment results between those who completed an IWCF virtual classroom course versus IWCF face-to-face classroom training.

Accrediting and supporting our members to deliver virtual classroom training and assessment has allowed us to work towards our mission, while enabling our members to provide an accessible and cost-effective solution during the pandemic.

The results of the analysis performed allow us to continue to offer virtual training and assessments as an option for all IWCF accredited training providers, subject to compliance with IWCF guidelines and requirements.

Due to the successful implementation of this initiative, we will close the process for eCert extensions for both renewing and resit candidates from 31st March 2021.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Branch Elections – France and UK

By News

The French Branch elections were recently held following on from the retirement of the French Branch Chair, Alain Jost.

Alain worked with IWCF since the company formed in 1992, with over 16 years’ experience as the vice-chair of the IWCF Board. We would like to thank Alain for his long service and wish him well in his retirement from his position.

Fabien Manuel from IFP Training was elected as the new chairperson, and Raphael Alonso from Ecole Francaise de Forage elected as the new vice-chair.

In the UK, the vice-chair elections were also recently held with Jamie McHattie from Maersk Training UK appointed to the vice-chair position.

We would like to welcome Fabien, Raphael and Jamie into their branch chair and vice-chair positions and look forward to working with them all in 2021.

If you would like to see our full board structure you can download the structure chart here.

New UK Branch Chair

By Uncategorised

The UK branch chair election was held recently, with Clive Battisby of Drilling Systems elected as the new chairperson.

We would like to welcome Clive onto our board of directors and look forward to working with him in the future.

If you would like to see our full board structure you can download the structure chart here.

Registration Now Open – 2020 Virtual AGM

By News

Registration is now open for our Annual General Meeting.

The event will take place in webinar format on Wednesday 25th November at 0800 hrs GMT.

All members have been contacted with details on how to register for the event.

If you have any questions regarding the event then please contact us at

Save the Date – 2020 Virtual AGM

By News

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and for the safety of our staff and members, we have decided to cancel our face-to-face well control workshop in Baku this year and host our AGM virtually online instead.

The event will take place in webinar format on Wednesday 25th November. Webinar access will be available for every member.

Add the date to your diary today, with more registration information to follow soon.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Certification Extension Update

By News
We have created a dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) page where all our updates will be published. You can find this on our home page, menu bar or by clicking here.


Certificate Extension Update – July 2020

Since March 2020, IWCF have continued to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and have worked closely with our members globally to follow regional advice.

With worldwide restrictions being imposed, we have worked to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees and well operations crews are maintained by introducing the virtual classroom training option. IWCF virtual classroom training is now widely available at accredited training centres globally (see links below).

Certificate extensions have been granted for eligible candidates who were unable to re-certify between 17 February 2020 and 31 July 2020.

After carefully assessing the latest developments affecting our global membership, IWCF’s Board of Trustees have agreed to introduce a new eligibility criteria and dispensation process for the small population of individuals that continue to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions beyond 31 July 2020.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you updated with any future developments.

Information for candidates

Candidates that have an eCert expiring between 1 August 2020 and 30 September 2020 and meet the below criteria will be eligible to apply for an extension.

  • The candidate must be booked to attend a virtual classroom training course at an IWCF accredited training provider.
  •  The candidate’s employer must provide a written request for extension.

The booking details and employer request must be submitted by email to

Once IWCF has reviewed the dispensation request, eligible candidates will be granted a 90-day eCert extension.

Candidates who do not meet the above criteria will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Useful links

We have introduced a COVID-19 hub on the IWCF website for centres and candidates to use.

Open Training Centres – This page lists IWCF accredited training centres by region who are open for training and assessments, or their expected opening dates.

Virtual Training Providers – This page lists training centres by region who are accredited to offer virtual classroom training.

COVID-19 Updates – This page is updated with all COVID-19 news and updates.

COVID-19 FAQs – This page answers the most frequently asked questions from centres and candidates.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Certificate Extension Review

By News

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we want to update you with the latest certificate extension guidance.

We expect many candidates will want to gain or renew their eCert in the coming months. Due to the continuing global travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines, we recently implemented virtual classroom training as an option to continue to train well operations crews globally. This initiative will help support accredited training centres with candidate demand.

We understand that some candidates may be unable to attend virtual classroom training. Therefore, IWCF’s Board of Directors have agreed a further certification extension for candidates who cannot attend training for the following reasons.

  • The candidate is unable to secure a place on a virtual training course because the centre’s schedule is fully booked.
  • Virtual classroom may not be available in the candidate’s language.
  • The candidate is working in a remote location where they are unable to travel and have limited time or access to a computer to take virtual classroom training.
  • The candidate’s employer does not want them to attend a virtual classroom training course.

To support candidates who are unable to attend virtual classroom training, we will implement the following measures.


Certificate Extensions

A certificate extension of 90 days will be granted to candidates who now have a certificate expiring between 17 February 2020 and 31 July 2020. All candidates must apply to receive this extension using our online form.

Example: The candidate’s initial certificate expires 31 July 2020. If they submit their details using the online form, the candidate will receive an additional 90 days. The new certificate expiry date is 29 October 2020.


Candidates with Current Certificate Extensions

If a candidate has already been granted a certificate extension and this expires, the candidate must apply for a further extension using our online form.

Example: The candidate’s certificate expired on 17 February 2020. The candidate submitted their details using the online form and received an initial extension of 90 days which then expires on 17 May 2020. The candidate must apply for a further 90-day extension through the online form on the IWCF website.


Virtual Classroom

We will recommend virtual classroom training to all candidates who have/will apply for a certificate extension. All candidates will be asked the reason why they are unable to attend virtual classroom training.

Example: The candidate’s certificate expires 31 July 2020. The candidate must remain on a rig and is unable to complete a virtual classroom training course. The candidate must complete the online form on the IWCF website to apply for a certificate extension and state the reason they are unable to attend a virtual classroom training course.


Instructors and Assessors

All IWCF accredited instructors and assessors were granted a 90-day extension in March 2020. If an instructor or assessor requires a further extension, they must apply to receive this extension using our online form.

A question has been added to the online form for candidates to indicate if they are an instructor and/or assessor.

Example: An instructor’s certificate expired on 17 February 2020. IWCF granted an initial extension of 90 days. This expired on 17 May 2020. IWCF will grant an additional extension of 90 days if the instructor is unable to attend a virtual classroom training course. The instructor must apply for an extension using the form on the IWCF website.


We will continue to monitor the developments and issue updates as required. Thank you for your support and understanding during this time.

Please contact us if you have any questions.