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Support for North Sea industry

FM: Energy Jobs Taskforce has been ‘catalyst for change’.

The group convened to support the oil and gas sector has provided targeted help to 800 companies while assisting 4,200 people facing redundancy.

Established by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in January 2015, the Energy Jobs Taskforce has fulfilled its mandate from industry members, which was to ensure a long-term vision, focused on securing sustainable change that addresses the sector’s structural challenges. 

The work of the taskforce will now be taken forward by the Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group, co-chaired by Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

Under the guidance of the taskforce, oil and gas innovation spend almost trebled last year, with £15.9 million of Scottish Enterprise support for 82 companies to deliver 111 projects. In total, 800 companies have been advised in areas such as innovation, leadership, internationalisation, business resilience and diversification.

Following the final taskforce meeting, the First Minister visited Tullos Training, where she met engineering apprentices undergoing training to be the North Sea workforce of the future.

The First Minister said:

“The Energy Jobs Taskforce has been a catalyst for culture change, ensuring companies innovate and remain competitive while helping thousands of individuals. It has made a vital contribution to strengthening the oil and gas sector, laying the foundation for a positive future for the North Sea economy. 

“With employment levels beginning to stabilise, the signs of improvement are encouraging. However, I fully appreciate that challenges remain and we will continue to work with industry to ensure the recovery is sustained.” 

Lena Wilson, chair of the taskforce and CEO of Scottish Enterprise, said:

“Scotland’s oil and gas sector has been on a significant journey and, while there’s still work to do, the taskforce itself has met its original objectives. 

“The time is right for the work of the taskforce to become mainstream business for the various organisations involved and Scottish Enterprise will continue to work closely with the sector to help it respond to challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Deirdre Michie, Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive, said:

Over the last few years, the taskforce has provided helpful support to those who lost their jobs in a challenging climate for our industry.  Work by the taskforce also contributed to the development of Vision 2035, which industry is focusing on working towards. 

"Oil & Gas UK has been pleased to play our part and will continue to work closely with other organisations to build on what has been achieved to support our sector and our people.”

Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress, said:

"As well as achieving many of the objectives set by the First Minster, the taskforce has been the catalyst for a number of other positive outcomes that should serve the industry well in the period ahead.

“Among the most significant is the constructive relationship that has developed between unions and employers and the recognition that a workforce with an effective voice at strategic and operational levels is vital to the industry's future success."

Jake Molloy, Regional Organiser for the RMT Union, said:

“The taskforce has been an invaluable means for engagement between all stakeholders and Scottish Government departments, something which has never previously been achieved.

“This has provided a far greater understanding of the work and roles of the respective taskforce members and created a foundation to continue building collaborative working to create and sustain employment in the energy sector. The group may no longer meet but the work goes on – it has to.”


Partnership Action for Continuing Employment events reached 4,200 people in the sector facing redundancy – of which more than 2,400 individuals received Transition Training Fund  assistance to help them move on to new jobs.

The workstreams under the Energy Jobs Taskforce continue, with monitoring transferring to the Oil & Gas Industry Leadership Group.


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