Oil and gas

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce

Working together to help Scotland's oil and gas industry respond to current challenges in the global sector.

Supporting Scotland's oil and gas sector

Scotland’s Energy Jobs Taskforce was established in January 2015 in response to the downturn in the oil and gas sector.

Since then, the Taskforce has delivered an exceptional range of support for the industry and individuals working in the sector. This has included targeted help to 800 companies and assistance 4,200 people facing redundancy.

The Taskforce has now 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.

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce
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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.

Catalyst for change

Following the final taskforce meeting in Aberdeen, 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:

"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."

Building collaborative working

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."

Key action areas

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce identified a number of key action areas to best support the oil and gas industry:

Quick links for oil and gas support

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce meeting, September 2017, Aberdeen
Scotland Energy Jobs Taskforce meeting, Aberdeen, September 2017

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.

Lena Wilson Chair, Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce

Supporting our people

In challenging times, the risk and impact of redundancy is heightened.

We know our oil and gas companies don't want to make their people redundant.

But in the current climate difficult decisions are having to be made in order to ensure the long term sustainability of the industry in Scotland.

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce is working hard to ensure that every individual faced with the prospect of redundancy is aware of the support available to them.

That support could include:

  • Help to find new employment
  • Help to set up a new business
  • Help to return to training or education

PACE job events aimed at the oil and gas industry have been attended by 4200 people to date.

The Elevator Fresh Start programme has supported the creation of 71 new businesses in the north east of Scotland, originating from original contact at PACE events.

But the impact of the current downturn is likely to continue.

The Taskforce will ensure that PACE support will be sustained, offering more events in Aberdeen and providing ongoing support.

How PACE is helping oil and gas workers

Explore the PACE website - This opens in a new window

Explore the new Success Criteria Programme

Register with TRS to find opportunities 

Support will also be available to help those made redundant in the oil and gas industry explore how their skills and experience could be used in other sectors like chemical sciences and ICT.

The £12 million Transition Training Fund set up by the Scottish Government is managed by Skills Development Scotland. It offers support with training grants to help individuals to retrain, upskill or get accreditation or certification in order to find a new job in oil and gas, the wider energy sector or engineering and manufacturing.

A recent survey of workers who have engaged with the Transition Training Fund showed that 58% are in employment - 78% in new sectors and 22% in oil and gas roles.

85% of workers were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their experience of the fund. Key benefits included:

  • 86% of workers became more confident
  • 88% felt their job prospects were improved
  • 85% got a job
  • 84% improved their job satisfaction
  • 82% improved their job security

How the Transition Training Fund is helping oil and gas workers

Explore the Transition Training Fund website - This opens in a new window

Caroline Zanre, PACE support

4200 people have attended PACE jobs events in Aberdeen

Retaining talent and skills

Working to safeguard the decades of skills and experience built up in Scotland’s oil and gas industry, ensuring we retain the expertise and quality of personnel required to keep the UKCS "open for business."

Available support includes:

Guidance on tactics to mitigate redundancy

Retaining talent and skills infographic
10 ways to mitigate redundancies
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A 10 point action plan detailing tactics to mitigate risk or impact of redundancy in the Oil and Gas sector.

Adopt an Apprentice

An enhanced financial incentive of £5,000 to help a potential employer cover the wage and recruitment costs of taking on a Modern Apprentice who has been made redundant, allowing the apprentice to continue their Modern Apprenticeship programme.

Job Loan Scheme

An initiative for highly valued and skilled staff that are identified as being at risk of redundancy for whom a short-term "bridge" could be found. For staff, this scheme could offer a chance for individuals to keep working and deepen professional skills.

For employers the scheme offers the chance to retain top talent long term during the downturn.

For receiving organisations this scheme offers the chance to attract high calibre talent for short-term roles.

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce
Oil and gas shared values event in Aberdeen

Shared values and principals event

The oil and gas industry came together in Aberdeen to explore new approaches to meet current challenges.


Oil and gas resilience meeting in Scotland

Business resilience events

A series of events across Scotland looking at creative ways of helping the oil and gas sector.


Scottish Enterprise support for oil and gas companies

Scottish Enterprise support

How Scottish Enterprise works to support Scotland's oil and gas companies across the supply chain.


Business resilience

The Taskforce is working to understand in more detail the current industry led work on cost efficiency for the sector.

The Taskforce is working with partners to help the supply chain understand the potential impact of efforts to improve cost efficiency. It also aims to provide practical help and assistance to companies to help them react to the current circumstances and to thrive in the long term.

The sector is already making strides and latest figures from Oil & Gas UK have shown that production costs have come down by 45%.

The Energy Jobs Taskforce, Scottish Enterprise and our partners are working to help this efficiency drive, with a range of support available to Scotland's supply chain companies.

Find out how the Taskforce helped EC-OG develop their new product

Support to improve efficiency

Scottish Enterprise has a range of services designed to improve and increase efficiency:

Read: Supporting cross-industry innovation

Oil and Gas UK Efficiency Hub support

Exploring new opportunities

Scotland's experience of the oil and gas sector can also lead to opportunities in a range of other industry sectors, both at home and in international markets.

Read: Scottish Enterprise guide to diversification opportunities

Read: Guide to managing agents and distributors

Learning from other sectors

Other industries and sectors face many similar challenges to oil and gas in areas such as supply chain management and maintenance. By learning how other industries have tackled similar issues, you can improve your productivity and cut costs.

These are oil and gas companies who have benefited from learning about other sectors:

Oil and gas efficiency

Safe, swift, efficient

Taking an efficient approach to helicopter safety.


Oil and gas efficiency

A new approach to collaboration

Collaboration and innovation at a new Onshore Operating Centre.


Oil and gas efficiency

Safer and cost effective surveys

How Maersk and Cyberhawk are working together to improve efficiency.


Cultural change and leadership

The Energy Jobs Taskforce recognises that they must support improved leadership to equip the oil and sector to meet the challenges ahead.

The Taskforce aims to encourage leaders and future leaders in the sector commit to the cultural change that is needed and ensure that they are equipped with the skill set and mutual support to deliver.

Leaders must commit to working together to promote good practice, demonstrating and embedding behaviours that can protect and sustain the industry jobs.

As Roy MacGregor, chairman of Global Energy Group, said:

"For any industry to truly change it needs strong leadership and vision for senior people in the sector who are committed to being a catalyst for change and leading by example.

"There's undoubtedly an appetite for change in Scotland's oil and gas industry and through the work of the Taskforce there's been a considerable effort to ensure leaders and future leaders in the sector are equipped with the skill set and support needed to deliver a new vision for the industry."

Already over 100 delegates have attended leadership events including a Harvard Leading Change seminar delivered in Aberdeen.

A bespoke Leadership for Growth programme has been launched and a number of delegates have already joined an Executive Leadership programme.

Scottish Enterprise will continue to support the work of the Taskforce by developing a programme of support that builds on our expertise in change management and leadership development.

Read: Building a culture to maximise Scotland's future oil and gas success

These challenging times are an opportunity to reduce complexity and work together, using solutions that are fit for everyone. There’s no point in acting differently when we are all struggling together.

Les Linklater Executive Director, Step Change in Safety

Balanced messages

Highlighting opportunities and promoting the sustainable and competitive future of Scotland's oil and gas industry

For better and for worse, Scotland's oil and gas industry is headline news.

The Energy Jobs Taskforce is committed to emphasising the message that Scotland's oil and gas industry continues to boast exceptional opportunities and has a long term sustainable and competitive future.

The Taskforce has been active in developing and testing balanced messages and laying the foundations for a longer term campaign that will be delivered by Oil & Gas UK.

Surrounded by a steady stream of depressing headlines it would be easy to lose sight of the longer-term opportunities for Scotland’s oil and gas sector and the value it adds to the Scottish economy.

The Taskforce is focused on developing and communicating key messages about the industry across the UK which reflects current challenges but also reinforces longer-term opportunities within the sector.

There is no doubt that we’ll continue to see some challenging news from the industry in the months ahead but we can make sure that where there’s progress, success and positive news for the sector, that it is shared more widely to help maintain confidence for the future of the industry.

Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce
Oil and gas worker in Scotland

Taskforce Progress Report

Read the latest progress report from Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce.

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Oil and gas worker in Scotland

Taskforce action plan & minutes

Read the latest minutes from Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce meetings.

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Oil and gas workers in Scotland

Taskforce members

Who's who on Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce.

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More information

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Useful links

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Scotland's Energy Jobs Taskforce welcomes contributions and suggestions from across the industry.

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