Monday, 09 November 2021 09:42

Employers asked to support oil and gas apprenticeships

Employers asked to support oil and gas apprenticeships

North Sea oil and gas firms are being asked to continue their support for technical apprenticeships for young people during the current downturn.

The call comes as the industry’s apprenticeship programme rebrands to the Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP).

Since its formation in 1999, operators and major contractors have invested more than £140million into OGTAP, formerly the Upstream Oil and Gas Technician Training Scheme. It is now one of the largest industry-led apprenticeship programmes of its kind in the UK, backed by 19 companies and with an achievement rate of 93%.

The scheme is managed by skills for oil and gas association OPITO, and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).

The programme takes on around 100 apprentices every year, and sees students take part in a 21-month full time course at one of the industry-appointed colleges, before embarking on a two year worksite placement. It covers four key disciplines, including process operations, electrical, instrument and control maintenance.

David Cook, chairman of the OGTAP steering group, said: “Estimates suggest remaining reserves within the UKCS could provide energy for another 35 years. Despite recent challenges, the oil and gas industry remains a key industry for the UK, sustaining thousands of jobs and offering considerable local and international employment opportunities. There is a need to continue to support the intake of apprentices and graduates - which are the future lifeblood of the industry.

“The recruitment and training of technicians as well as graduates is critical to developing and retaining the workforce we need to continue to take on the world’s toughest energy challenges and adopting a fully integrated industry approach to attracting new talent is more important than ever in the current climate.

“The programme provides a highly effective and efficient means of attracting and developing new technicians whilst reducing the burden on individual employers. Participation can help make organisations more productive and competitive by directly addressing their own skills gaps whilst supporting the development of a new generation of highly skilled and motivated technicians.”

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, added: “We certainly welcome efforts to provide positive training opportunities that can attract tomorrow’s oil and gas workforce. These are challenging times but we still need people with the right skills to drive forward our sector which will continue to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and help meet the UK’s energy needs for years to come.”

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