The UK Boomtown: North Sea industry suffers staff shortages
At a time when the UK government is supporting billions of pounds worth of investment in the oil and gas industry to help economic recovery and secure thousands of jobs, John Waite asks how the 'threat' of the skills shortage can be overcome. The industry is being promoted as a vital strategic resource that helps fulfil our energy needs and insulates the UK from volatile global markets. However, filling the skills gap is widely considered to be one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. John hears how high levels of activity, global competition and the misconception of UK oil and gas being a 'sunset industry', is leading to talent overlooking a career in the sector. How a shortage of skilled labour drives up costs and impacts on project schedules, and leads to wider concerns over reliability of supply and, therefore, higher prices. He investigates why successive governments and the industry, despite foreseeing this problem, have so far failed to implement adequate policies and measures to tackle it, and asks what is now being done to develop sufficient levels of manpower. Business Secretary Vince Cable and a representative of the industry respond.
Producer: Katy Takatsuki