Training passports could help North Sea workers move jobs

CAMPAIGNERS have called on MPs to back the creation of a standardised Offshore Training Scheme amid concerns that oil and gas workers are being deterred from moving into the renewables industry by the lack of such a programme.

They say North Sea oil workers that want to work on facilities such as windfarms can face hefty bills to obtain qualifications that effectively duplicate those they already hold.

READ MORE: Oil giants hail ScotWind success amid claims huge boost to supply chain is in prospect

Green MP Caroline Lucas is making a bid to require the UK Government to publish a strategy for the creation of an Offshore Training Scheme within a year.

Ms Lucas aims to do this by securing MPs’ support for amendments she has tabled to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. This will be put to a vote on Monday February 21.

HeraldScotland: Caroline Lucas is the Green Party MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituencyCaroline Lucas is the Green Party MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency

Friends of the Earth Scotland said the kind of scheme proposed could help support a just transition from an energy system dependent on fossil fuels to one which allows emissions to be cut to zero, net of amounts absorbed.

Its 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.”

HeraldScotland: Ryan Morrison is Friends of the Earth Scotland's Just Transition campaignerRyan Morrison is Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Just Transition campaigner

He said they had a golden opportunity to do exactly that next week by supporting Ms Lucas’s amendments.

READ MORE: Oil services firm to create 200 jobs as it targets renewables market

Last year a survey of offshore workers, by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform and Greenpeace, supported by RMT and Unite Scotland, found they had spent an average £1,824 per year on training. The organisations said then that the UK and Scottish Governments should lead on the implementation of an Offshore Training Passport.

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