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Other News

Opito strengthens safety team in Gulf of Mexico

Opito has strengthened its team with the appointment of a new approvals manager to meet the rising demand of accredited offshore workers. The industry body, which now has 13 approved training centres in the Gulf of Mexico, has accredited an estimated 25,000 workers this year. Richard Edwards, a former firefighter and US Coastguard, has joined Opito’s international office in Houston.


Opinion: Slashing apprentices can be a false economy

At a time where oil and gas companies across the globe are being affected by the commodity price downturn, many have developed and implemented contingency plans which have seen the selling off of low-profit subsidiary companies, enforced wage cuts, the loss of experienced personnel, a reduction in marketing budgets, and even the cutting of apprenticeship and graduate programmes. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that there’s a huge cloud over the whole industry right now as chief executives worry about keeping their businesses afloat but it’s that last example, the loss of the next generation of oil and gas workers that we need to put higher up the industry’s priority list if we are to ensure the sector has a sustainable future. In order to secure the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry, we need to continue empowering and encouraging a steady pipeline of talent to come through even in challenging times. Past experience has shown us that ignoring this can lead to bigger and more costly issues in the long term.

Oil & Gas

OPITO warns against ignoring safety training amid cost cutting drive

Oil and gas training organisation Opito yesterday cautioned the industry against using low oil prices as an excuse for cutting corners of safety training. Opito’s chief executive, David Doig, issued the warning as the training body revealed the line-up for its sixth annual safety exhibition. The Opito Safety and Competence Conference (OSCC) will feature presentations from the likes of Shell’s deputy head of safety, Tony Paul and Kevin Myers of the Health and Safety Executive.

Oil & Gas

Opito strikes deal to work with ECITB

Oil and gas skills body Opito has agreed to work more closely with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) to avoid duplication of effort. The two engineering skills bodies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deliver to their members a “common menu of skills solutions”, to collaborate on the collation of industry data around manpower trends and skills forecasting, as well as the creation of skills programmes that meet common industry needs. The collaboration will also build on work undertaken to date around the industry’s modern apprenticeship scheme.

Offshore Europe

Offshore Europe 2015: Video – School visit leads to exciting career

A school visit to offshore Europe in 2009 changed the life of former Mackie Academy pupil Craig Gordon. The apprentice draughtsman now works at Technip where he describes everyday as "different" after landing his dream job. Six years ago he was one of the 11,000 secondary school students in the UK who have already been inspired to date to find out about the oil and gas industry through OPITO's Energise Your Future events.


Opinion: Can the industry say hand on heart the next generation are being inspired?

Twelve months ago, the Wood Commission report ‘Education Working for All’ set out in front of parliament, the need for closer links to be forged between educational establishments and businesses to ensure a future for the country’s young people and ultimately strengthen the economy. Led by Sir Ian Wood, among the issues the document identified was the significant change required by schools, colleges and employers to challenge the cultural misconception that vocational training is less important than a purely academic route. The Commission prescribed the need for long term partnerships to be established between secondary schools and employers within three years. And by 2020, it recommends that the quality of both work experience programmes and career guidance should be increased significantly and made available to every pupil.


OTC 2015: Mexico tragedy – a stark reminder to offshore industry

The devastating images of the aftermath of the terrible incident in the Gulf of Mexico last month have served as a stark reminder to the global oil & gas industry that we can never, ever, become complacent when it comes to the safety of our people who work offshore. While we don’t yet know the cause of this latest incident, we do know that risk is part and parcel of working in hazardous environments and it is the duty of every man and woman engaged in our sector – both offshore and onshore – to reduce the potential for accidents and injuries every step of the way. Knowledge is power and being able to properly understand the changing nature of risk, identify potential old and new hazards and react in the right way when something does go wrong is a fundamental part of keeping people safe. Five years after it was first introduced to the North Sea, Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST) has been significantly restructured and re-launched last month to take account of the changed requirements in the UK sector.

Oil & Gas

OPITO invests in Cyprus oil and gas office

Oil and gas skills body OPITO is set to become a strategic skills adviser in Cyprus with the opening of new offices in the region. Following discussions with senior Cypriot officials, OPITO has invested in a new office in the country. The Eastern Mediterranean is currently estimated to hold 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the area. Group chief executive David Doig said: “The recent discovery of natural gas resources offshore Cyprus is a major opportunity to create jobs and opportunities for the island and its people.


Opito appoints new UK director of communications

Oil and gas industry skills and standards body Opito has appointed a new director of communications at its Aberdeenshire headquarters. James Hamilton has taken on the role after five years working in the United Arab Emirates as Opito’s Middle East and Africa standards and approvals manager and then its international workforce development manager.

Oil & Gas

Skills must stay top of the agenda, says Opito

It is more critical than ever for North Sea oil and gas firms to keep skills at the top of their agenda, despite any layoffs caused by low crude prices, industry body Opito said. The skills, standards and workforce development organisation said there was still an over-riding need to turn potential talent into the offshore workers of tomorrow. Doing so will not just equip the industry with the people it requires when oil prices rise but also help to keep safety at the forefront of operations offshore, it added. Opito managing director John McDonald’s reminder of the importance of maintaining a competent and safe oil and gas workforce came as the Portlethen-based organisation set out its priorities for the year ahead.

Oil & Gas

Shell and Opito join forces to train Iraqi oil workers

An estimated 15,000 oil and gas workers in Iraq will be trained in how to deal with the potential hazards of hydrogen sulphide. Oil giant Shell and Industry training standards body Opito have joined forced to ensure workers are protected. The corrosive and hazardous gas, also known as 'sour gas', H2S occurs in the production of oil and gas fields which have a high content of it in their reservoirs.


Opinion: The UK is a country bursting with talent

The North Sea has been producing oil and gas for half century next year and the challenges the region faces are well documented. The ‘Fuelling the Next Generation’ report released this week showed the scale of the skills shortage is much less apparent than it was 12 to 18 months ago. This means that all the work the industry has been doing from grassroots level in schools right through to engaging with potential transitioners and the wider public is working. The study, commissioned by Oil & Gas UK, OPITO and the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has delivered the truest reflection of how life is going to look for those of us in the sector over the next five years.

Oil & Gas

Mussel farmer named apprentice of the year

A former mussel farmer has been named apprentice of the year at the 15th anniversary of the UK Upstream Oil and Gas Technician Training Scheme. Michael Williamson previously completed an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering with Shetland Island Council Ferries. The 22-year-old, from Whalsay in Shetland, is currently an instrument technician at Edinburgh College and was given his award after demonstrating “outstanding ability and attitude” during his four years on the scheme, which has helped 1,500 people enter the industry already.


Video: Encouraging women into oil and gas

In the final video on National Oil and Gas skills week, Energy Voice spoke to Jeanette Forbes about her experience as a woman in the industry. A qualified systems engineer, she is chief executive and founder of the PCL Group. National Oil and Gas Skills Week will see around 50 events take place across the UK.


Video: Making the armed forces to energy industry jump

In the second part of our video series for the National Oil and Gas Skills Week, Energy Voice spoke to former soldier Duncan Harwood. The 34-year-old made his transition into the oil and gas industry after fulfilling tours in Iraq, Northern Ireland and the Falklands with the Royal Engineers.

Special Features

Calling all ‘Young Energy’ students

Oil and gas students have one final chance to enter into an industry wide competition and meet Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing and more than 150 senior representative from across the industry. In the run up to skills week Opito has been engaging with people across the industry by giving them the chance to submit a photo with the caption #Iamoilandgas when posting a photo on Facebook or Twitter.