Subsea UK has developed a “toolkit” to help companies grow their own talent as the industry faces a massive shortfall of people.
The industry body, which represents the £8.9 billion subsea sector, revealed that British subsea companies need around 16,000 to help them grow to £11 billion and increase the country’s 45% share of a £20 billion global market.
The “toolkit”, which has been developed with companies in response to real issues they are facing is part of Subsea UK’s focused workforce development programme, Subsea Target, which aims to help subsea companies accelerate the pace at which they can develop and deploy people with the relevant skills or potential as well as providing advice and guidance to individuals trying to get into the subsea sector.
Already 15 companies, large and small, across the subsea supply chain have signed up for Subsea Target and working to develop a successful programme for the recruitment and retention of competent staff, including a focus on those with transferable skills.
Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, said: “Not a day goes by when we don’t hear about the acute shortage of skills in oil and gas. The subsea sector is already showing signs of being constrained by this. If we carry on trying to solve the skills issues using the current solutions, we will not achieve growth. That’s why our approach is different.
“Continuing to poach from a talent pool which is drying up is no longer viable. Companies are having to consider hiring people in from different places than they did in the past. People with relevant or transferable skills but with no knowledge of the subsea sector, no prior experience within a business and a gap in their ability to do the job required is a major obstacle. We aim to help firms develop the additional support and infrastructure required to cross people over effectively so that they become fully functional in a subsea role as quickly as possible.”
Instead of the focus on sourcing and attracting people and helping them transfer into or secure a job in the sector, Subsea UK is working with individual companies to get them ready to take on more people.
“With many companies it is not simply about finding people but more about how they recruit, how they keep people and how they equip them with the skills they need to do the job,” explained Mr Gordon.
“Basically, they need to resource for growth and this means having the right corporate context and organisational culture into which they can bring people, exploring pre-employment strategies, structured inductions, personal development plans, mentoring, coaching and encouraging teamwork as well as having a competence management and measurement system, alongside a comprehensive training programme.”
Subsea Target also provides support for existing training and development initiatives as well as helping individual companies grow their own talent through access to programmes such as the subsea engineer conversion course, transition training focused on ex-military personnel, subsea on-line learning and apprenticeship schemes.
Gordon added: “We have fully investigated what the industry needs in terms of skills and explored the existing programmes which work well for individual companies. Through a collaborative approach, we have shared best practice from industry and designed pan-industry programmes which deliver solutions in the short to medium-term.”
Subsea Target is a Subsea UK initiative which has benefitted from initial funding from Skills Development Scotland Energy Skills Challenge Fund. It is now an integral part of Subsea UK’s ongoing Skills and Workforce Development strategy which aims to make a material and sustainable difference by helping companies source and develop the people they need to prosper. This is through three strands; a short-term approach to helping companies meet their immediate skills’ needs; a medium-term approach to attracting graduates and apprentices into the industry and a long-term approach focused on educating school children about the careers in subsea and encouraging the uptake of STEM subjects.
Subsea UK, November 13, 2013