BP 'cannot find skilled workers'

image captionMr Garlick said BP often moved talented staff from its North Sea operations to elsewhere in the firm

A shortage of engineering skills in the UK could hamper growth at BP's North Sea operations, an executive has said.

In July, BP announced plans to invest £3bn in redeveloping two oil fields in the North Sea, a move that was expected to create hundreds of new jobs.

But Trevor Garlick, head of BP's North Sea operations, said the company could struggle to fill the available roles.

"Getting hold of the right people is a real issue for us," Mr Garlick told the Sunday Telegraph.

"We are hiring a lot of people, but we are also an exporter of a couple of hundred people to other regions [in BP]. We are a centre for recruiting elsewhere."

The rest of the company viewed its North Sea operations as a "training ground", with talented workers snapped up to fill posts overseas, Mr Garlick said.

Oil and gas companies are expected to create some 15,000 new jobs in the UK over the next five years, according to the latest research from the industry body Opito.

But it also said that more than half of the 144 companies surveyed cited attracting appropriately skilled staff as their number one challenge.

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