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UK oil and gas workforce can transition – report

Many jobs in more decarbonised 2030 workforce have a large degree of overlap with current roles

More than 90 pc of the UK’s oil and gas workers are well positioned to work in adjacent energy sectors as the industry starts to decarbonise, according to a report released today by Scotland’s Robert Gordon University.

The report—entitled the UK Offshore Energy Workforce Transferability Review—found that around 80pc of jobs in the UK’s offshore energy sector will be in nine key areas that have a high degree of overlap with the existing workforce. These areas are operations; technicians; engineering; projects; business development and marketing; procurement; finance; HR; and health, safety sustainability and environment.

“Our Green Jobs Taskforce will advise on how we can create the broader skilled workforce to deliver net zero by 2050” Trevelyan, UK energy minister

Around 200,000 jobs are likely to be needed in 2030 working in the offshore wind, hydrogen, and carbon capture utilisation and storage sectors, with some legacy oil and gas roles also remaining.

This compares with around 160,000 people directly and indirectly employed in the UK offshore energy sector in 2021.

However, a significant retraining programme will still be required, and the review identifies the key role the higher education sector must play in reskilling the offshore energy workforce.

Retraining

Government agencies, trade associations, education institutions, unions, training providers and companies themselves will also all have a role to play in identifying the best way to retrain workers.

“The review rightly recognises the need to support the skills transition. The UK government is committed to working with all relevant agencies in a way that develops the full potential of the energy industry,” says UK energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

“Through our leading North Sea transition deal, we set out how we will make certain we have an energy skills base in the UK that is fit for the future, while our Green Jobs Taskforce will advise on how we can create the broader skilled workforce to deliver net zero by 2050.”

The taskforce is currently investigating the issue and will issue a shortlist of actions as part of the Green Jobs Action Plan to be released this year.

Meanwhile, local authorities such as Teesside are already establishing courses in colleges and academies that will ensure a pipeline of skilled workers. In the case of Teesside, these will be aimed at staffing a wind turbine manufacturing plant in the area, announced earlier in the year by technology firm GE.

In March this year, the government signed the North Sea transition deal, which sets emissions reductions targets for the UK’s oil and gas sector as well as support for up to 40,000 supply chain jobs as part of the plan to decarbonise the sector.

Earlier this year, a report from thinktank UK Onward foresaw up to 1.3mn jobs being created in low-carbon heating and energy efficiency, 367,000 jobs in electric vehicles and 36,000 jobs in low-carbon power by 2030.

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