This announcement was made to MPs on the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on oil and gas on behalf of the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, who chairs the industry-government Jobs Energy Taskforce. (JET)
And – making her first appearance in Holyrood – Deirdre Michie, who recently took up the post of chief executive of Oil and Gas UK – also told MSPs;
“It’s tough out there in the North Sea – and the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. This cycle is different to the ones we have been through before.
Summarising the work of JET, the spokeswoman said the main priorities of the energy jobs taskforce is to retain employment as much as possible, to help support and provide re-training or additional training for people who have already, or are likely to, be made redundant and to provide an ‘online jobs dating agency’ to help match up the skills on offer from workers with those required by employers.
In a video report shown to MSPs, Bob Keiller – JET member and Chief Executive, Wood Group – said it was important to keep in mind the positive news that up to 12,000 people are likely to be recruited to N. Sea oil and gas jobs by 2019.
And fellow task force member, Trevor Garlick, BP President, N. Sea, said: “We have a highly-skilled work force in the North Sea and I am confident we’re going to sustain this through this period of low oil prices”.
MSPs were also told that the industry had ‘learned lessons’ from past slumps of the downside in laying off workers prematurely and then having difficulty in re-recruiting skilled workers when the market recovers.
The JET spokeswoman added: “We have been through difficult times before and we just cannot afford to lose our supply chain industry and its skilled people.
“And we don’t want to paint the picture blacker than it is – this is a really serious situation. But Scotland’s oil and gas sector is a very exciting sector to be in. We don’t have all the answers, but we are here to help”.
Deirdre Michie added: “It is important to get people multi-tasking and re-skilling and learning new skills as the North Sea basin matures, which is bringing different types of job challenges for the industry. Adapting and learning new skills will help to bring job security for workers.”
There was wide agreement for the oil and gas industry to collaborate both with each other and with the public sector to drive forward innovation and cost-reduction.
The Jobs Energy Taskforce is to hold another skills training and employment-support event on 17 June at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom.