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Growing your own – assessing whether new toolkit will work for subsea industry

Subsea UK is attempting to tackle the shortfall of workers in the subsea industry by introducing a specialist ‘toolkit’ to help companies develop their own talent.

The sector is worth around £8.9 billion and the industry body recently revealed that 16,000 jobs are needed to grow the country’s existing share of the global £20bn market.

The toolkit was developed alongside companies in the industry and the aim of it is to increase the pace at which the sector can expand.

A recognised shortfall

The shortfall of workers in the oil and gas sector is widely recognised and there are signs that the subsea sector is being constrained as a result.

In order to tackle the issue, there is a need to recruit high profile staff and retain those who are already within a company.

Then the focus is on transferable skills that enable workers to deal with any issues that may arise, meaning fewer staff can deal with higher-level problems.

So far, 15 companies of all sizes have signed up for the programme and it is hoped the toolkit will encourage new growth.

The talent pool is continually reducing in size and it is causing companies to look elsewhere, meaning some workers do not have the same levels of skills as they did in the past.

Many have no prior experience and knowledge of the subsea sector meaning they require a great deal of training to make them completely capable of doing the job.

A time-consuming process

While it is possible to train these people up, it makes it difficult to rapidly expand as the training takes a considerable period of time to complete.

It means companies are becoming more resourceful and are considering their options a lot more when recruiting.

Compared to others in the oil and gas industry, subsea workers are generally paid quite well for their work so it is surprising that the job role struggles to attract staff. Subsea UK’s ongoing Skills and Workforce Development strategy is aiming to make a difference by helping people get the skills they require to be successful.

However, it is only a short-term solution as encouragement is needed to drive students towards science and engineering-based subjects that can make them ideal for roles in the subsea sector.

Therefore, developing staff from within could be the best way increase output – it will just come at a price in terms of the time delay needed to prepare them for such roles.

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