Environment Protection: Training

Department for Education written question – answered on 14 March 2023.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that opportunities for retraining in green skills are available to workers currently employed in the oil and gas sector.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The North Sea Transition Deal, published in March 2021, commits to supporting up to 40,000 jobs, including decarbonising UK Continental Shelf jobs and across the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen sectors. Government charged the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation with developing an Integrated People and Skills Strategy for this transition, which was published in May 2022. The Strategy commits the UK to a just transition to net zero by 2050.

There are approximately 118,400 direct and indirect workers in oil and gas, and 148,500 in the wider offshore energy sector. The number of offshore energy sector jobs is expected to increase to 350,000 by 2050. The Strategy estimates 90% of the existing UK oil and gas workforce has skills transferable to other offshore energy sectors. The Strategy commits to developing transition pathways to support offshore energy workers open to moving between sectors. This includes integration with the Armed Forces Covenant.

A digital skills passport is in development that allows people working in offshore energy to be occupationally competent across oil and gas, CCUS, Hydrogen, and offshore wind. According to the Green Jobs Taskforce report, published in July 2021, approximately 50%, or 100,000, of the UK’s offshore energy jobs by 2030 are predicted to be filled by workers transferring from oil and gas to offshore renewable roles, as well as new entrants from outside the sector. A 2020 survey of the oil and gas workforce indicated over half were interested in moving to renewable energy jobs, provided they were supported with the right training.

The UK Offshore Operators Association (OEUK), an offshore energy industry body, committed to developing a greater understanding of the offshore energy sector’s demographics in the North Sea Transition Deal’s one-year progress report. OEUK will publish guides on inclusivity, flexible and transparent recruitment, and promotion pathways. They will encourage reporting on ethnicity pay gaps in 2023. The diversity workstream will later go on to examine inclusion factors such as neurodiversity and social mobility.

The Department has a range of skills and training offers that can support workers looking to transition between oil and gas, and other offshore energy sectors.

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks that give people the opportunity to build sector-specific skills and access to an interview with an employer. Courses are currently available in energy skills such as offshore renewables, and offshore wind safety training.

Apprenticeships are available in a range of occupational standards and can give employers and employees the skills they need to grow. The apprenticeships offer includes training in a huge range of disciplines, from logistics and project management to engineering and manufacturing. Flexibilities within apprenticeships include accelerated apprenticeships, which support those with existing industry experience to complete more quickly by recognising their prior leaning.

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