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OPITO says over half a million offshore oil and gas workers now trained

18 June 2012

Oil and gas skills body OPITO says more than half a million offshore oil and gas workers in 40 countries have been trained to OPITO safety and competency standards. The industry-funded body has unveiled a series of statistics which demonstrate the organisation's transformation over the last six years and its new global position as the safety standard of choice.

David Doig, OPITO Group Chief Executive
David Doig, OPITO Group Chief Executive

Growth has been dramatic: In 2005, there were 38 OPITO-approved centres training around 59,000 offshore workers. There are now 127 OPITO-approved training centres around the world, delivering OPITO's 103 industry standards.

Since 2010, 81,000 workers have completed the OPITO-driven MIST (Minimum Industry Safety Training) - the most radical change to UK offshore training for over 20 years.

OPITO's Petroleum Open Learning, which provides low cost, flexible learning courses to increase technical training and knowledge and improve performance in the workplace, is now exported to 30 countries. 

David Doig, group chief executive said: "Since establishing OPITO International in 2009 to achieve our goal of developing common global safety and competency standards, we have established offices in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Houston. Our role internationally is to take the approach adopted in the UK and tailor it for each oil and gas province so that the industry's mobile global workforce is trained to the same high standards, improving competency and safety in oil and gas around the world and ultimately saving lives.

"Our international journey is hugely successful with a 300% increase in the take-up of our standards and significant milestones such as the signing of a landmark agreement with the Iraq Ministry for Oil to help the war-torn country develop the skills and training necessary to exploit its hydrocarbon resources. OPITO is providing guidance and support to help the country build a world-class learning infrastructure so that the people of Iraq can obtain the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed to access jobs in the country's oil and gas industry for now and in the long-term future."

At a national level OPITO reveals that 1,360 apprentices have now been through or are presently participating in the industry's Modern Apprenticeship scheme in which the industry has now invested £120million since 2000. The OPITO scheme is recognised by Government as an exemplar as it currently achieves over 90% completion rates - the UK average for completion of apprenticeship schemes is only 65%.

Meanwhile OPITO has run two successful pilot Transformation Training Programmes to bring workers from other industry sectors into oil and gas. One of these in Fife is tackling skills gaps, and the other, helping RAF personnel in Kinloss and Lossiemouth switch to a career in oil and gas, is to be rolled out in the future.

Mr Doig added:  "Bringing almost 1,500 new people into the UK industry underlines the return on the industry's investment in skills and training through OPITO. However, the extraordinarily high levels of North Sea activity are yet again exacerbating our underlying skills shortages.  We simply do not have enough people with the skills that the industry demands and we must ramp up our activity to ensure that we build a robust and sustasinable pipeline of skilled people coming into the industry.

"Today's figures from OPITO demonstrate that we are making substantial headway but we must secure wider industry support and engagement to increase the success of our initiatives. Many oil and gas companies have their own skills programmes but through OPITO we can offer cost-effective and collaborative schemes that deliver a greater return on investment for industry."

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