UK workers set to benefit from ‘energy skills passport’ backed by oil, gas, and wind industries

Article by Aniqah Majid

The initiative is spearheaded by Renewable UK, Offshore Energies UK, and OPITO

EMPLOYERS in the oil, gas, and wind sectors have partnered with energy initiatives to develop a skills passport to help UK workers through the energy transition.

The passport aims to showcase a worker’s current skillset and qualifications, and the most suitable career pathway for them to move into the renewables sector.

Skills body OPITO has been developing the passport, which was first set out in both the North Sea Transition Deal and the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, since 2022.

The partnership includes energy initiatives Renewable UK, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), and the Global Wind Organisation (GWO). Katy Heidenreich, supply chain and people director for OEUK, said: “I think too many people underestimate just how transferable skills in the oil and gas workforce are to the new energy sectors, and the skills passport is all about realising that fact and making it easy for people to travel from oil and gas to these nascent energies and back again.”

She added: “Engineering design is a really great example of a transferable skill between sectors. Handling molecules, which is what hydrogen is all about, that's a speciality of our sector. Another transferable skill in carbon storage is exploring for CO2 stores, which is exactly the same skill that's needed for exploring gas reservoirs.”

Transition teething problems

According to data published in the North Sea Transition Deal policy paper, jobs in offshore energy are expected to exceed 211,000 by 2030, while an estimated 270,000 people currently work in the oil and gas sector in the UK.

Ian Cook is head of business development for low-carbon energy firm SSE. He started his career in the oil and gas industry, making the move to renewables in 2021. He did initially attempt to take the step in 2017, applying to Imperial College London to join its Sustainable Energy Futures MSc, but was rejected due to his limited experience.

He said: “I had a fairly strong CV as a chartered chemical engineer and I still got rejected because they said they wanted a candidate with more relevant experience.”

He added: “With the energy skills passport, I think it's good, but it needs to be recognised. It is good that industry bodies are getting involved, but I think it's more key that employers recognise the skills passport and the qualifications.”

A common skills standard

The partnership is considering both the OPITO Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) scheme and the GWO’s basic safety training scheme to build its career pathways for oil and gas workers to transition into renewables.

The development of the passport also relies on input from energy employers on what skills and certifications are recognised.

Heidenreich added: “We are working with employers on this solution to make sure that what is launched is enduring and something that is going to be recognised by all the right parts of both sectors.”

The partnership expects to launch the first version of the passport prototype before Q3.

Article by Aniqah Majid

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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