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Self-same new year safety resolutions

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Here we are again, a new year stretching out ahead of us, bringing with it a wealth of fresh opportunity to influence, impact and change our industry for the better.

In many cases, the challenges we seek to address are the self-same challenges that faced us last year. That is not to suggest that the efforts which have been undertaken to date have not proved fruitful, only that the perpetual desire to improve, enhance and elevate will continuously keep us driving forward.

As an industry, we received some clear reminders in 2012 around the importance of safety training, designed to protect all staff working throughout our industry. It is vital that we always remain focused on the safety of our staff and do all we can to minimise incidents and encourage the adoption of safe working.

Throughout the year, we worked with industry to develop five new standards, including Offshore Crane Operator and Basic Onshore Emergency Response.

Individual training submissions also rose 10% compared to the 2011 figure, which demonstrates the clear appetite that organisations continue to have for developing and training their workforce to operate safely and competently.

The challenges we face in recruiting talented, skilled individuals that are experienced and capable of delivering results and ensuring UK-based companies can compete on the global stage remain the main focus for most organisations, however.

We are not the only sector to be experiencing these challenges. Other industries throughout the UK are also running programmes and initiatives to attract the very best talent now and in the future.

Working with industry, education and government on a number of initiatives and programmes aimed specifically at addressing the skills challenge, Opito will focus its activity on three main areas in the UK in 2013:

They are Modern Apprentices; education initiatives; and the expansion of the Transformation Training Programme which has recently been awarded £211,000 of the Energy Skills Challenge Fund.

In particular, I see this type of training programme as a very definite solution, designed to take existing skills from other, potentially declining industries, and develop them for the oil and gas industry. With the right level of support it will develop skills effectively and quickly.

As 2013 gets under way, Opito continues to sit at the heart of the industry’s skills and workforce development needs. For us to continue to be successful and help the industry meet its challenges however, it is fundamentally important that we continue to pull together as one industry.

We are the most dynamic, technologically advanced, entrepreneurial industry in the UK. By coming together we can promote our industry as exactly that, while helping to increase the talent and skills pool now and in the future.

But the employers must stand up to the plate and take ownership for talent development and management. We must stop thinking it will be done somewhere else by others and they can just tap into a mythical talent pool that does not exist. Talent development is a long-term commitment and until that is realised the industry will always have challenges.

David Doig is group CEO at the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation

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