The skills issue continues to be a hot topic across the oil and gas industry. Most companies talk about the need to fill skills gaps and focus on training people for the right jobs. But the skills gap isn’t quite as simple a problem as having 50 empty desks that need engineers to sit and fill them, it’s also about understanding how the industry is progressing and what kind of people we need to move forward.
Technology in oil and gas improves every day as bright minds across industry work together to develop new ways to extract oil in challenging conditions with the most effective methods. We must invest in developing people in the same way we commit to improving our equipment and software on and offshore.
In a previous blog we spoke about the need to encourage university students from various disciplines to consider a career in oil and gas. The opportunities for employment are vast as companies don’t just need engineers but also lawyers, geologists, marketing and sales teams; and many more.
We must communicate to current school, college and university students is that the oil and gas industry can start them on a career for life. With decades of exploration and production in the North Sea, businesses must ensure the right skills are in place to keep the industry flowing. One group of people who know their future within the industry is strong are modern apprentices being celebrated in the OPITO National Oil and Gas Skills week from November 11th to the 14th.
More than 1,500 young people have started a career in oil and gas since the skills and standards body started the apprenticeship programme, which is still going strong. Young people respond well to a learning environment in which they are learning practical skills whilst earning qualifications. Structured learning and development shouldn’t stop at the end of an apprenticeship or degree course though.
Filling the skills gap also means making sure people currently working in industry are look ahead to the next step of their own career in terms of job requirements rather than salary expectations. We must work to identify the strengths and skills potential of individuals within our own businesses. In oil and gas, the skills gap might be our problem, but we are also the solution.