Industry unveils new skills resource as first ever National Oil & Gas Skills Week gets underway


11th November 2014

A PIONEERING new resource developed to help people source accurate information about the UK oil and gas sector has been unveiled in Aberdeen.

HM Government’s Industrial Strategy, launched in 2013 to deliver long-term plans to secure jobs and growth in the UK’s key economic sectors, highlighted the need for one centralised online portal to provide a more proactive and co-ordinated approach to providing relevant information on oil and gas skills.

Following 12 months of research and development, the Oil & Gas Skills Navigator was unveiled for the first time today (Tuesday, November 11th) at a business breakfast in Aberdeen attended by around 150 senior industry leaders.

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing attended the launch which officially opened National Oil & Gas Skills Week.

A central repository connecting and consolidating all current skills information and activities, the Oil & Gas Skills Navigator will be the starting point for schools pupils, graduates, military career changers, employers, teachers or higher education groups and those looking for training information about the oil and gas industry.

The resource has been created by industry skills body OPITO, in collaboration with industry partners under the stewardship of the Oil and Gas Industry Council.

OPITO managing director John McDonald said: “The UK’s industrial strategy is a crucial tool to rebalance the economy and promote long-term, sustainable growth. The oil and gas industry, as one of the UK’s key economic drivers, plays a vital role in achieving that.

“Following intensive research it was clear there is a huge amount of data about the industry available but it is very difficult for new entrants and current working professionals alike to discern which of those are commercial offerings and to filter out the irrelevant or outdated information.

“The landscape is cluttered, there is no clear starting point and you can find different answers to different questions across a number of different channels. This is a significant barrier for people seeking information about skills, entry routes and career opportunities.

“The need for greater constructive collaboration across the industry was highlighted in the Wood Review and over the past year we have seen unparalleled collaboration and co-operation across industry, academia and other sectors to develop this pan-industry resource.”

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The oil and gas sector is vital to Scotland and we must have the skilled workforce required to strengthen our overall ambition as a major centre for energy activity. To do this means we need industry to work with our colleges and universities to ensure they are delivering the skilled workforce that they need and deliver the best value out of the public investment that we provide for the training of the current and future workforce.

“As a sector that is now estimated to support 450,000 jobs across the UK, of which around 50 per cent are in Scotland I am delighted that industry and stakeholders are working together to ensure that the skills issue within the industry does not impact future growth.”

The Oil & Gas Skills Navigator is supported by Oil & Gas UK, Subsea UK, Decom North Sea, NOF Energy, Energy North, the Offshore Contractors Association, Scottish Council for Development and Industry, the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, Skills for Energy, the International Association of Drilling Contractors North Sea Chapter; and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

Gordon Ballard, chairman of the Oil and Gas Industry Council, said: “There is no shortage of potential talent coming through the pipeline. What there has been to date, is a lack of collaboration to capture that talent by making our industry accessible and easy to navigate your way around.

“As we continue to compete on an international stage in oil and gas; and see competition for workers with comparable skills in other industrial sectors, it is more important than ever before that we take every opportunity to translate that potential talent into our current and future workforce.

“For many people, the Oil & Gas Navigator will provide the starting point for their journey into oil and gas.”

The first ever National Oil & Gas Skills Week will see around 50 free events involving upwards of 75 different organisations take place from November 11-14th in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fort William, North Shields, Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and London.

Throughout the week, school pupils, graduates, apprentices, military transitioners, current working professionals and members of the public will be taking part in a wide range of activities from science, engineering and maths events, specialist workshops and careers sessions to debates, interactive challenges and more.

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