UK government sees opportunities for oil and gas workers in renewablesNews // July 8, 2016
The government in the UK says a new online tool will help skilled workers in the oil and gas sectors find job opportunities in the wider engineering sector, including the renewables industry. Organisations such as RenewableUK have already stated that theyt believe there are significant opportunities for workers in the UK's struggling offshore oil and gas industry to transition to offshore wind.
The government says a pipeline of energy sector projects is likely to create demand for highly-skilled engineers. It recently published a blueprint to manage oil and gas sector skills and says that longer-term modelling could enable the industry to deal more effectively with the cyclical nature of the market.
The existing Talent Retention Solution scheme, which is currently used by over 1,000 companies in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, will be supplemented by an additional website specifically for those working in the oil and gas industry. EngineeringUK estimates that the economy will need over 180,000 people with engineering skills per year to 2022. The measures are outlined in the Oil and Gas Workforce Plan published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to ensure the industry can better plan for future workforce requirements over longer-term timescales, given the highly cyclical nature of the sector.
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. There is already considerable demand for these skills whether it’s for nuclear newbuild, the fast-growing renewable energy sector or the nascent decommissioning industry.”
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.