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4 February 2016

Stevenson Welcomes Fund to Support Offshore Sector Retraining

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the announcement by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a new £12 million fund aimed at people who face losing their jobs in the oil and gas sector to transition into other energy industry and manufacturing employment through.

The Scottish Government’s Transition Training Fund will help maintain the highly skilled energy workforce in the North Sea region by offering grants to individuals to support their redeployment through retraining or further education. It will also help people with the costs of maintaining any licences they need to work in the sector.

The Transition fund will allow bodies like Skills Development Scotland, in conjunction with the Energy Skills Partnership and Energy Technology Partnership, to provide practical training and education that will help people meet the demand for other specialist jobs in the wider sector.

The new fund will augment the work of the Scottish Government’s Energy Jobs Taskforce, which is already providing support through the PACE process and other measures such as the Adopt an Apprentice initiative.

The First Minister made the announcement on a visit to the North-east, where she met senior executives of BP and other sector figures before attending the latest meeting of the task force.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“It is absolutely crucial that we take every possible action to retain the expertise that the industry has built up over decades so that it remains flexible enough to capitalise on exploration investment and future oil price rises.

“That is why I have announced a new £12 million Transition Training Fund to provide financial support to individuals as they retrain or undertake new education to allow them to take on specialist roles elsewhere in the energy industry and related roles in the manufacturing sector.

“This fund will augment the work of the Energy Jobs Taskforce, which is already providing much-needed help to people affected by redundancy by working with bodies such as Skills Development Scotland to support redeployment and training.”

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson added:

“I welcome this funding and the opportunities it creates for those affected. The redundancies in this industry are extremely concerning, and I am optimistic that this will help alleviate some of those losses.

“The conditions facing the North Sea oil and gas sector are certainly challenging for more than just those individuals affected—indeed it has a larger impact on the industry. The significant job losses are deeply concerning, as is the risk that the highly skilled workforce is lost to the sector as they look for other opportunities.”

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