Subsea UK, OPITO Win Funding for Industry Skills Initiative

Trade body Subsea UK and training organization OPITO announced Monday that they have both been awarded part of a $3.2 million (GBP 2 million) fund aimed at attracting new people into the oil and gas industry, while helping them diversify their skills.

Scotland's leading diver training facility, The Underwater Centre at Fort William, has also secured a share of The Energy Challenge Fund, which has been set up to help tackle the current skills shortage in the sector. The fund, managed by Skills Development Scotland, support the training of people in order to help them gain the qualifications they need to work in oil and gas, including the subsea sector.

"The funds will go towards further developing a subsea engineer conversion course which provides companies with the course framework, tools and resources to successfully train engineers from other sectors to become subsea engineers," said Subsea UK Chief Executive Neil Gordon in a statement.

"One of Subsea UK's members, Subsea7, has been running its own engineering conversion program since 2005 and Bibby Offshore recently launched its program. The format of the conversion program is now to be extended to wider throughout the industry."

Gillian Black, policy affairs director at OPITO, commented: "The mid-gap of maturity and experience is where the problem lies. Widening the pool of talent available to the industry is essential if the recruitment difficulties identified by industry employers are to be addressed."

The Underwater Centre said the funding it is getting will allow 42 prospective students to have the opportunity to take one of two courses for half the normal fees. "At present, we are not training sufficient numbers of commercial divers to meet the UK demand. The commercial diver population is aging and there is likely to be a dramatic skills shortage which will have to be met by commercial divers from out with the UK," commented Steve Ham, the general manager of the center.



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