The UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, has come up with a new online tool that should help skilled workers in the oil and gas sectors find job opportunities in the wider engineering sector, supported by the pipeline of large energy and infrastructure projects.
The UK oil and gas industry is currently facing an unprecedented period of difficulty in the face of continuing low commodity prices, with much of the impact is felt in Aberdeen, though all parts of the UK are affected, the department says.
The existing Talent Retention Solution (TRS) scheme, which is currently used by over 1,000 companies in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, will now be supplemented by an additional website specifically for those working in the oil and gas industry. The government said the tool should help the individuals affected by the oil and gas downturn, potentially reducing unemployment. It should also help the UK maintain expertise in areas such as engineering.
Furthermore, the government has tasked OPITO to see how Skills Connect an existing web-based tool, can be redesigned to help oil and gas workers understand more about which job roles in other sectors would be most appropriate to their skills.
Skills Connect was initially designed to help military personnel understand how their skills were transferable to job roles in the oil and gas sector.
Now, Skills Connect is expected to help oil and gas workers understand the types of roles that that they
could do in other sectors, whilst TRS will help them find specific jobs.
EngineeringUK estimates that the economy will need over 180,000 people with engineering skills per year to 2022..
Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “The future success of our economy depends on having the people with the right skills in the right jobs, and that’s why it’s vital we retain the talents of our highly-skilled workers currently in the oil and gas industry.
Soubry said there here is already considerable demand for these skills whether it is for nuclear new build, the fast-growing renewable energy sector or the nascent decommissioning industry.
UK government Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd said: “The UK government stands 100% behind our oil and gas industry, the workers and families it supports, and the people who have worked tirelessly to steer it through these challenging times.
Our workforce in the UK is one of the mostly highly skilled in the world, and their valuable skills are transferable right across the engineering sector. The action we are taking today will ensure that we hold on to that talent and provide more opportunities for those most directly affected by the low oil price.”
David Mundell Scottish Secretary said: “Engineers and skilled workers in Scotland’s oil and gas sector are world class, and many industries could benefit from their expertise and experience, from major infrastructure projects to new and innovative energy solutions.
While the sector has been tested over recent years, time and time again it has shown a capacity to rise to the challenges confronting it, and that is due to the resilience and skill of the people working within it. This tool will allow other industries to reap the rewards of the talent pool of the UK’s oil and gas workers.”
In addition to the new online portal, the government expects workers in the oil and gas industry to benefit from the extension to Advanced Learner Loans. This means it is now possible to apply for loans for qualifications at Levels 3 to 6, which will be important for enabling workers in the oil and gas industry to study at higher levels and gain the skills to transition into infrastructure or other engineering sectors.
The pipeline for planned public and private infrastructure to 2021 and beyond is £425 billion. According to data published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills last year (2015), the energy sector is already facing a substantial skills shortage, particularly for highly-skilled engineers and technicians.
Offshore Energy Today Staff