North Sea Green Transition

Oil and gas workers struggle to make transition to renewables and access green industry jobs

4 minutes read

Oil and Gas Transition Offshore Workers

A recent survey of 600 offshore workers has suggested that high training costs could be a potential barrier in enabling people to transition from fossil fuels to the green industry.

The poll, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform and Greenpeace and supported by the trade union RMT and Unite Scotland, discovered that those actively looking to move away from the fossil fuels into the green industry were having to pay thousands for training courses when moving from one employer to another in the offshore industry. Some offshore workers from the oil and gas industry have stated that trying to make the transition independently is challenging and further support is needed to enable the move to the green industry.

Many oil and gas workers view the transition as a necessity, a way of moving forward in their careers and a positive change for the environment. People are aware of the climate challenge and understand the impacts this industry is having and will have on future generations.

An accelerated shift from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources, like offshore wind, will be vital if the UK is to reach its legal target of net zero emissions by 2050, according to climate government representatives.

The Stop Fuelling the Climate Crisis campaign led by The Independent focuses on the UK’s oil and gas industry before the COP26 climate conference due in Glasgow at the end of the year.

Campaigners have urged the government to develop an offshore training passport program enabling individuals to move more freely between jobs in oil and gas and renewables without having to pay and repeat previous training schemes.

Ryan Morrison, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, focuses mainly on the fair transition between oil and renewables. Morrison believes that the skills and experience of offshore employees are critical to driving an efficient shift to renewables. Employees shouldn’t have to invest thousands in repeating training schemes and qualifications that have been completed.

The benefits of green jobs have little impact when inadequate training structures prevent the opportunity for people to move between sectors. Morrison is calling for a more regulated offshore training passport to enable people to make an effective transition. The idea has received support from many oil and gas workers who feel the current system is operating in a manner that forces people to buy their jobs, referring specifically to the similarity in training schemes for offshore workers in oil and gas and renewables.

The UK Government has stressed that experienced and skilled workers will be a big part of the oil and gas sector’s transition towards a low carbon future. The North Sea Transition Deal supports the decarbonisation of the oil and gas industry while simultaneously supporting thousands of job opportunities in Scotland and the UK.

The deal, along with the Green Jobs Taskforce, brings together businesses, skills providers and trade unions. The Transition Deal facilitates the knowledge and infrastructure needed to decarbonise energy production in the North Sea and protect the required skills to generate new, low carbon industries nationwide.

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