Britain aiming to bridge offshore skills gap

Offshore staff

LONDON – Britain’s government has unveiled its strategy to secure continuing investment in the UK’s offshore oil and gas sector.

This involves:

  • Sustaining a fiscal regime that encourages investment and innovation on the UK continental shelf, including guarantees on tax relief for decommissioning
  • Developing the UK supply chain further, with fabrication one area identified as in need of assistance to ensure competitiveness in domestic and international markets
  • Support from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to help the UK supply chain increase exports in the sector, particularly in markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Australia
  • Plugging the skills gap, a continuing concern for the oil and gas industry, and especially for small- to medium-size companies. Work is in hand to develop the skills needed by the industry, which expects to require an additional 15,000 staff over the next four to five years across a range of disciplines. The government will work with the industry to establish a national program to retrain ex-military personnel so that they can be redeployed in the oil and gas industry.

As part of this effort, $10.6 million has been given to Newcastle University through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to establish the Neptune Centre for subsea and offshore engineering. This facility will promote interaction of industry and academia, provide infrastructure for emerging research opportunities, and help develop skilled graduates to address critical skills shortages.

3/28/2013

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