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An oil and gas strategy to secure billions of pounds of future investment and thousands of jobs was unveiled by the Government last week.
Tax certainty, supply chain support, and bridging skill gaps will provide continued job growth, business secretary Vince Cable, energy secretary Ed Davey and Scottish secretary Michael Moore will tell business leaders in Aberdeen today.
The UK oil and gas production industry employs more than 400,000 people. Addressing the skills shortage of mid-level career engineers is one area the Government's new strategy areas to focus on. The industry expects it will require an additional 15,000 staff over the next four to five years across a range of disciplines.
Government and industry will also look at establishing a national programme to retrain ex-military personnel to enable them to be redeployed in the oil and gas industry. The Government has said that ex-military personnel have the skills the industry looks for and that many have already successfully transitioned into the sector.
To help address the skills shortage, £7 million has been given to Newcastle University through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to establish the Neptune centre for subsea and offshore engineering. The Neptune centre is expected to have a strong element of developing highly skilled graduates to help address key skill shortages.
Another key part of the Government's plan is to raise the profile of Britain's growing oil and gas sector, to foster innovation and attract the best talent, including the imminent launch of an oil and gas UK campaign to raise public awareness.
Ahead of the strategy launch, business secretary Vince Cable said: "The oil and gas industrial strategy is the start of a real plan of action owned by industry and government. It is a strategy that all sides are committed to, so that future decades of investment and growth can be maintained in the North Sea." He added: "This is an expanding industry. We can either help create more jobs and opportunities across the UK if we get this right, or see work going overseas if not."
Malcolm Webb, Oil and Gas UK's chief executive said: "The strategy fosters strong and meaningful collaboration between the Government and industry and will help to focus efforts on addressing particular areas such as skills, technology and exports. It will further strengthen the oilfield services sector across the country, boost investor confidence, safeguard jobs and help to maximise recovery of Britain's oil and gas reserves."