With the oil and gas industry realigning and falling oil prices exacerbating the need for cost saving measures and efficiency gains, it’s time for industry to strengthen its relationship with education and training providers.

For too long there has been a disconnect that has left us with the industry-wide skills shortage we are now experiencing. Job-seekers – who have followed the prescribed route – have found themselves with irrelevant qualifications and are unable to find employment, through no fault of their own.

Training for trainings sake needs to be eliminated. Instead, training should be matched to the availability of jobs; this principle can be applied to any industry, not just the oil and gas sector.

Last week saw the first group of trainees graduate from UK Total Solutions’ and Gateshead College’s oil, gas and renewables academy ahead of its official opening in September. The pilot programme involved 26 individuals, who were referred by the Job Centre, all desperately looking to expand their skill set to aid their search for employment.

The two-week course equipped the group with a bespoke blend of capabilities delivered through practical and classroom-based learning, but more importantly with capabilities that are in high demand and more likely to be of value.

Of the group, half gained employment with Barrier Ltd and will work from its Wallsend facility on a range of fireproofing projects. The other half will now complete a one-week work placement with the company and be considered for future work.

If more education and training providers were to follow suit by involving employers, it would go a long way to narrow the skills gap, reduce unemployment and increase productivity – there really is nothing to lose.

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Barrier Archiectural logo

Designer, supplier and installer of Architectural and Insulation systems, including ductwork for HVAC and Modular Accommodation units.

Barrier Fire Protection logo

Applicator of Passive Fire Protection systems including Epoxy Intumescents. Manufacturer of fireproof panels and boxes.

Barrier Syntech logo

Applicator of Syntactic Insulation to subsea manifolds and pipelines. Manufacturer of Syntactic Bouyancy for ROVs and subsea flowlines.

Aquaseal Rubber logo

Manufacturer of rubber or synthetic components, ranging from cut gaskets to specialist fabrications, mouldings, extrusions and mandrel-built hoses.