Trade and skills bodies have committed to working together to enable offshore workers to move more easily between offshore energy projects.
Training body OPITO, the Global Wind Organisation (GWO) and the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), with the support of RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables, have aligned to identify duplicate training and to create new guidance aimed at enabling workforce mobility.
It follows requests from trade unions and climate campaigners for the creation of an “offshore training passport” that would help workers move between the oil and gas and renewables sectors.
Currently, oil workers say they often have to pay to repeat similar training courses to get jobs in offshore wind – a situation unions say is a major barrier to accelerating a “just transition” for the workforce.
On average, Scottish workers spent £1,627 per year on training, according to a study conducted by Friends of the Earth, Platform and Greenpeace.
In February Green MP Caroline Lucas tabled an amendment within the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill that would have required the UK Government to publish a strategy for the creation of an offshore training scheme within a year, and mandate cross-sector recognition of core skills and training.
However, MPs voted by 298 votes to 154 against the amendments.
In the meantime, others have pointed to the North Sea Transition Deal’s commitment to developing an integrated people and skills plan as an industry-led solution to deliver greater workforce mobility.
Read the full op-ed prepared by OPITO, GWO and IMCA below.
Transferring skills and expertise between oil and gas and offshore wind is seen as one of the key facets of a just and managed energy transition. In the context of the North Sea Transition Deal People and Skills Plan, workforce mobility has therefore been given the highest priority.
Today, OPITO, Global Wind Organisation (GWO) and the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), supported by RenewableUK and Scottish Renewables, have committed to a shared vision and work plan striving towards this goal.
Our organisations are responsible for safety training standards in the global energy and maritime construction industries, and together we will create guidance that clears the path towards a safe transition and enables workforce mobility between sectors.
The target will be to identify any duplication of training where it may exist for workforces and provide clarity for decision makers by mapping out those pathways in a clear and unambiguous way.
Beyond that, we are jointly committed to supporting the wider topic of transitioning skills between sectors because we understand how vital this will be in supporting the global integrated offshore energy sector we need in the years to come.
At the heart of everything we do is safety. The people who are trained and accredited to our standards do their jobs in some of the most challenging work environments. Ensuring people are equipped to work safely underpins the industries we represent.
We already provide robust and quality assured frameworks for safety training with many professionals holding multiple certifications to work across different sectors already.
Hundreds of training centres around the globe, in more than 50 countries, operate to the same governance that has been developed with care and responsibility by our stakeholders for decades. These training providers stand ready for the offshore energy workforce to access the required safety training they need to take advantage of opportunities within different sectors.
It is important to stress that transferring from one part of the offshore energy sector to another is always likely to involve some type of training journey.
There are inherently different tasks and risks when working in oil and gas compared to working in marine construction or installing and operating a wind turbine.
Take, for example, training on how to deal with a potential hazard or incident such as first aid, fire awareness or sea survival. There will be some elements of this training which are generic and apply to all industries, but there will be other elements which are specific to the domain of a wind turbine, a vessel, or an offshore oil and gas platform.
Appropriate access to training has already helped thousands of offshore workers take up new opportunities in various the offshore energy sectors. The UK is globally leading in its access to internationally accepted standardised safety training. We can see the evidence for this from the fact that UK offshore energy workers are increasingly able to export their skills to markets around the world.
Today we are speaking together in Hull, and there are few better locations in the UK to demonstrate the possibilities and opportunities that the move to net zero can provide. We are all determined to ensure we are playing our part in helping the UK and the world unlock these opportunities, and to support the journey towards net zero.