THE Balkans could hold the key to resolving skills shortages in the North Sea offshore sector, according to a company specialising in business and recruitment links with the region.
TS3, which has its head office in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was set up to enable access to the area’s fast-developing economies.
The firm has since expanded its activities to training and recruitment, and is now looking to match suitable vacancies in the UK’s oil and gas industry to a fast-growing pool of qualified engineers.
UK operations director Margi Lawson said: “Following investigations and meetings centred around Aberdeen I am aware that many companies are crying out for engineers, both in the UK and internationally.
“We have hundreds of professional engineers of all disciplines on our books who are ready to take up contracts within the UK as well as international locations.”
Oil and gas employers have talked for years about the need to attract young people into the industry to replace an ageing workforce.
The Opito Oil and Gas Academy, launched in Aberdeen at the end of last year, is one of various initiatives to address the issue.
But according to TS3, firms looking to plug skill gaps only need to look east.
The apparent army of engineering talent includes Assad Karisik, who graduated in 2001 after having studied traffic and communications engineering for five years. He is working in a non-engineering role for a regional development agency, but would welcome an opportunity to move abroad for work more closely matched to his qualifications.
Ms Lawson said: “It is not unusual to find qualified engineers, either unemployed or waiting tables. Not only are these people highly qualified, but the majority of them also speak English.”
She says all the countries of the former Yugoslavia – Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia and Macedonia – have a glut of engineers looking for related work.
TS3, which has a UK office in Newcastle, also helps firms looking to do business in the Balkans. Businesses wishing to find out more about potential opportunities there should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org