New ‘skills strategy’ will support future of UK’s oil and gas sector

Opito has released its UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review. Pictured: Director of the RGU Oil and Gas Ins

Opito has released its UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review. Pictured: Director of the RGU Oil and Gas Institute, Prof Paul de Leeuw (left) and chief executive of Opito, John McDonald (right) with the report. Picture: Newsline Media - Credit: Newsline Media

A project to develop a new skills strategy for the oil and gas sector has been welcomed by sector representatives in the East of England.

The creation of the strategy follows a report from Opito, a skills body for the energy industry, on the workforce on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) and its future requirements, which has received widespread industry and government support.

The UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review suggested that more than 40,000 new people will need to be recruited into the industry over the next 20 years if it continues to meet ambitions around energy transition, production and exports - including 10,000 in posts that do not exist today.

Gemma Head, manager of the East of England Energy Group's (EEEGR) Skills for Energy programme, said: "This is a hugely important piece of work as this will assist us in understanding the industry's skills needs now and into the future, enabling us to better align relevant and suitable provision.

"We already work alongside Opito in a number of capacities, predominantly through our Skills for Energy programme, and with so much activity already taking place within this region we would be keen to support Opito in the promotion of the workshops and in the distribution of the industry survey to ensure that contributions are sought from a variety of organisations from across the sector.

"This is of particular importance to our region with its Southern North Sea gas basin which is key for UK plc as gas is the predominant source for electricity production, with our region powering the nation into the future."

Opito has appointed Robert Gordon University's (RGU) Oil and Gas Institute, which helped to compile the report, to support the development of the strategy over the next six months.

Most Read

The institute will engage with industry and stakeholders to gather data to inform the creation of "skills demand maps".

An industry survey will be launched to capture demand for future skills and capability requirements, while workshops will be held with operators and the supply chain to tape into a network of knowledge among specialists, young professionals and apprentices.

Paul de Leeuw, director of the RGU Oil and Gas Institute, said the strategy would be developed "in close collaboration with industry".

"The skills strategy will identify what new skills will be required in the future to ensure the UK continues to have world class capabilities to support the oil and gas industry and the wider energy sector," he said.

John McDonald, chief executive of Opito, added: "We want to be able to take swift and appropriate action to safeguard roles, up-skill the existing workforce and prepare the sector for emerging digital and data roles."