Oil and gas industry unveils collaborative route to securing a safe and skilled talent pool for the future energy sector during visit

The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing was told how the oil and gas industry is proactively tackling its skills issues during a recent visit to Aberdeen.

Mr Ewing's visit came just weeks after the Scottish government launched a £30m Green Economy and Skills investment package for energy efficiency and low carbon schemes, as well as the creation of an Energy Skills Academy.

The industry skills and workforce development body, OPITO, informed the minister how the organisation is leading the way in linking the industry with education and the Government with the aim of influencing the curriculum to align it with the future skills requirements of the oil and gas sector, supporting the government's aim to create up to 10,000 job opportunities for young people in the UK.

Mr Ewing learned about the raft of grassroots initiatives that OPITO runs with schools and colleges throughout the UK which have seen the industry engage with more than one million school pupils to date.

The Minister gained an insight into a number of schemes which OPITO is currently running to support the industry's skills challenges, including a new career website, myoilandgascareer.com, which is aimed at anyone looking for entry routes into the sector and the organisation's transformation training programme, which is designed to up-skill workers who have experience in other industries, providing the sector with a structured mechanism for replenishing the workforce and managing upturns in the long term.

OPITO also leads a suite of interactive career and lifestyle events for secondary school pupils which aim to influence subject and career choices in the older age group. Initiatives like the interactive Petrochallenge and Energise Your Future events are designed to bring the industry closer to the next generation, inspiring and informing them about how the choices they make now will impact on their future career opportunities.

He was also told about the organisation's involvement with the Scottish Qualifications Authority and how it is proactively addressing the need to increase the uptake of key science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects among the next generation by developing initiatives that support teachers.

Larraine Boorman, managing director of OPITO, said: "We value the Government's recognition of the vital role the oil and gas industry plays in the UK and the importance of ensuring the world-leading skills and expertise we hold are secured for the future. Significant work has been undertaken by the sector, working in collaboration with education and training providers, to create a valuable infrastructure for training and to channel the wealth of experience that exists to deliver it.

"The oil and gas industry, through OPITO, invests substantially in skills and workforce development issues with OPITO playing a key role in how the sector is proactively addressing the need to increase the talent pool and secure a safe and suitably skilled talent pool for the future.

"By facilitating direct links between education and industry, we aim to increase engagement and interest in oil and gas both as a source of further study and as a potential career choice."

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

"It was great to visit OPITO and find out more about what the oil and gas sector is doing to ensure the skills the industry needs are available.

"The Scottish Government recognises the importance of the oil and gas sector to Scotland's economy, and we are taking action to ensure that we have the skills to capitalise on the opportunities that the oil and gas industry presents for jobs and growth in Scotland.

"We have worked closely with industry to ensure that the Oil and Gas Strategy, launched in May 2012 represents a strategic approach to articulating and communicating the growing opportunities open to young people and experienced workers in the sector across Scotland.