According to Oil & Gas UK’s 2013 Offshore Demographics Report, the UK’s offshore oil and gas exploration workforce grew by 9 per cent to almost 57,000 people during 2012.  Of these, the number of people who spend more than 100 nights a year offshore grew to 25,760.  Older workers dominate the offshore workforce and the average offshore worker is 41.1 years of age.  The number of workers under the age of 30 grew by 14 per cent last year but there remains a major and growing skills and employment issue for the industry.

A new approach to tackling the need to attract new recruits into oil and gas careers has been launched by OPITO, the sector skills body with the unveiling of its annual investment of £1.2 million in the creation of the first ever national oil and gas skills agenda.

“It is vital that more definitive action to deliver a sustainable supply of people into the industry is taken. As the body responsible for skills, it is up to OPITO to take control and lead the charge for a step-change,” said Larraine Boorman, managing director of OPITO in the UK.

OPITO will also undertake a comprehensive national oil and gas skills survey across all sectors of the industry. The results will be published in January 2014 and used to form the basis for a national skills strategy going forward.

Patrick Phelan, Managing Director of Aquaterra Energy, said: “The oil and gas industry is one of the few which has continued to offer exciting career opportunities throughout the economic downturn and, with increasing activity offshore in Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe and elsewhere, we predict a continued trend in the same direction.

“This is great news for the UK, as our engineers are highly regarded and prized the world over.  It is also encouraging to see a growing number of younger people joining the industry and this is something we must continue to encourage through promotion of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects in UK schools and engineering in our universities.”