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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00369: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 1 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what work the Oil and Gas Taskforce has carried out to secure jobs and apprenticeships in the oil industry.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 15 June 2016

Last year, the First Minister set up the Energy Jobs Task Force, which has already helped to support more than 2,500 individuals and 100 employers through the current downturn, and will continue to support the industry to improve collaboration, co-operation and innovation. A fourth Patnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) event, providing Employment Support, will take place at Robert Gordon University on 22 June 2016. An enhanced Adopt an Apprentice scheme was also launched by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) on 16 February 2015. SDS has helped secure re-employment and provides support for Modern Apprentices made redundant in the oil and gas sector through this scheme.

The Taskforce has, at the request of its industry members, taken a longer-term look at the structural challenges of the industry. This has led to a number of initiatives that will lay the foundations for improvements across a wide range of action areas to support supply chain best practice, increase standardisation, enhance leadership, encourage more collaborative behaviours among different parts of the industry and drive cost efficiencies. This has led to a number of initiatives including:

A ground breaking cross-sector Shared Principles and Values event, attended by more than 70 industry leaders in Aberdeen took place last May. A follow up event took place in May 2016, where 74 senior oil and gas leaders met to drive forward behavioural changes and improve ways of working to maximise opportunities for Scotland’s oil and gas sector. The event aimed to challenge existing behaviours and break down the barriers to change; ensuring companies are equipped to deal with issues affecting them in the short term, but also helping to protect skills and talent to maximise future growth opportunities.

Launch of tactics to mitigate risk or impact of redundancy guidance on 20 May which provides a hierarchy of options before employers resort to downsizing workforce has been published, including - making savings elsewhere, sabbaticals, reduced hours, job sharing, job loans. This has been issued to companies via the OGUK HR Forum, SDS, Scottish Enterprise and the Energy Jobs Task Force network.

Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are providing practical assistance to the supply chain and have run 6 Resilience in Oil and Gas Events welcoming 217 delegates from 144 companies to hear from experts on strategy, operations, finance and market resilience.

Elevator Fresh Starts Business Start Up support programme has provided support for 37 new businesses in North East originating from initial contact at PACE events, which includes intensive support from experienced mentors

A Sales Leadership event was held in Aberdeen on 26 Feb 16, attracting 53 delegates – with the objective of equipping business leaders with responsibility for sales to take a strategic overview of their sales process to locate and win profitable business.

The second cohort of 9 business leaders has recently completed a new Executive Masterclass Development Programme, to develop strategic leadership skills, bringing the number to 18 in total over the two cohorts since July 2015.

Introduction of a fully funded adapted Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) manufacturing review open to all Oil and Gas businesses, to increase the chances of survival and build operational resilience. In addition SMAS is leading a number of Learning Journeys for example the Siemens factory in UK and a visit to Germany – these included 8 companies from the oil and gas sector. Best practice visits have also taken place to Optos and Scotvalves with a total of 6 oil and gas supply chain companies involved in these.

Scottish Enterprise has allocated £10m of funding to support Oil and Gas companies at enhanced levels for Innovation and Research and Development, offering support at up to 70% dependent on the size of the business to further de-risk innovative projects. This also includes an ‘innovation professional for hire’ programme to help businesses enhance their innovation capability.

Additionally Resilience Review Support which was announced in February, has established a pool of around 35 industry specialists to support companies.