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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity urges MPs to back training scheme for offshore workers

This news post is about 2 years old

An overwhelming majority of workers in the energy sector support the proposal.

Environmental campaigners and trade unionists have called for MPs to back the creation of an Offshore Training Scheme as a key solution to removing barriers for oil and gas workers transferring into renewables. 

Friends of the Earth Scotland have said the idea is backed by workers in the offshore sector, with MSPs from all parties expressing support for the proposal in Holyrood last year. 

The Skills and Post-16 Education Bill is now making its way through the UK Parliament, with the final vote to take place on Monday, February 21. 

Green MP Caroline Lucas has tabled three amendments which would require the UK Government to publish a strategy for the creation of an Offshore Training Scheme within a year. Other parties are being urged to back these amendments. 

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s just transition campaigner, Ryan Morrison, said: “The skills and experience of offshore workers are vital to enable a rapid shift to renewable energy, but workers cannot be expected to fork out thousands of pounds from their own pocket to duplicate qualifications they already have.

“It is time for MPs to listen to these workers by creating a regulated training passport to ensure a just transition for offshore workers. They have a golden opportunity to do exactly that this week by supporting these amendments.”

A 2021 survey of 610 offshore workers by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform and Greenpeace UK found 97 per cent of workers said they were concerned about training costs. 

On average, each worker paid £1,800 every year to maintain the qualifications required to work in offshore oil and gas.

For any worker looking to move into renewables, they are expected to duplicate much of their existing training, at even greater cost.

94 per cent of workers surveyed supported an Offshore Training Passport to standardise training in the offshore energy industry, removing duplication where possible and significantly reducing the burden of costs faced by often self-employed workers. 

The amendments put forward by Caroline Lucas would achieve the demands of workers in the industry, trade unions have said. 

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) regional officer, Jake Molloy said: “The urgency of this issue cannot be overstated. The trade unions have been banging this particular drum since the oil and gas downturn of 2014 and the industry and their standards bodies have collectively failed the workforce.

“We need an intervention now; we need the political will and support of MPs across the country to address the injustice of having to pay for work, which is the situation faced by thousands of UK workers! 

“All of the talk about a ‘just’ transition will continue to be nothing more than ‘talk’ if MPs fail to support this initiative.”