Page 1: Introduction
OPITO The Oil & Gas Academy is the focal point for skills, learning and workforce development for the oil and gas industry. Its role is to help employers to develop a safe and competent workforce. The production of oil and gas is a key industry in the primary sector and in the UK supports nearly half a million jobs. Of these, 380,000 work in oil and gas extraction from the area of the North Sea known as the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). A further 100,000 jobs are involved in the export of oilfield goods and services. The industry makes an annual direct tax contribution to the United Kingdom in excess of £10 billion.
The skills and competencies of this workforce are vital to ensure safe and reliable oil and gas extraction. Only by having a safe and skilled workforce can the UK oil and gas energy supply be sustained and security of supply be maintained. Over the years the industry has built up considerable expertise. This has been exported across the global exploration and production networks through the movement of people. However the need for continuing staff training and skills development is essential as the UK industry will exist for several decades to come. The needs of the industry, technology and work practices are ever-changing. Therefore it is vital that all learning reflects the changes in the business.
The role of OPITO - The Oil & Gas Academy is to work collectively with industry employers and trade unions to establish common industry standards of safety and competence. It also works with schools, colleges and universities to promote STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to students and show why the oil and gas industry is an exciting and rewarding career choice. The Academy works with employers to identify training needs both for essential knowledge, like health and safety and for developmental needs such as technical and leadership skills. Once these are agreed, the Academy provides the link to a quality-assured learning network, for example, colleges and training providers who deliver the relevant courses. The Academy also works in partnership with many different organisations, including government, trade and enterprise bodies to support the industry's development.
The oil and gas industry provides a wide range of career opportunities. Some are offshore, working directly out on the rigs drilling for oil and gas and on fixed installation oil and gas production platforms as part of the extraction process. For example, Drilling Engineer Angus McCay works with high-tech drilling machinery exploring potential reservoirs of oil under the sea floor. Paul Mallinson is a Control Room Operator responsible for the day to day running of a floating production storage vessel. Other roles are in commercial activities working onshore, such as in buying and selling oil and gas or as part of the legal teams setting up contracts.
This case study examines how different management styles may be necessary to support the variety of job roles within the oil and gas industry.