Energy industry leaders in the East of England told students completing an energy program that their transferable skills would offer them long-term employability in “a wonderfully rewarding career.”
Skills from the Energy Skills Foundation Program delivered at Great Yarmouth College and Lowestoft College would set them up for the “long game” of the energy industry that was “alive and kicking” worldwide.
18 students were presented with awards and certificates at a gala dinner of industry leaders and employers at Zest at Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton.
They were the “new blood of the industry” – the engineers and technicians of the future – with skills to take to projects across the world, they were told.
Matt Oxley, business stream director for Stork, which set up a new operational base at Lowestoft earlier this year, said despite a challenging economic climate, one in 80 people in the UK were employed in the energy industry in a workforce paid about two and a half times the average UK salary.
“There are opportunities for employment. There are 12,000 new entries required for the future despite the decline of the UK Continental Shelf,” said Oxley. “The decommissioning market is estimated to be valued between £30 and £70 billion with more than 200 platforms in the southern sector that will need to be decommissioned.”
About 35% of the oil and gas workforce were working on projects abroad, he said.
The industry-led course was launched at Lowestoft College in 2009 and Great Yarmouth College in 2012.
Its steering group is chaired by the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) and Skills for Energy, and made up of representatives from both colleges, the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and the National Skills Academy Nuclear, who continue to develop and drive the course forward.
Many of its alumni are working for industry leaders including Perenco, SSE and 3sun.
Some of this year’s cohort have secured apprenticeships, one with RWE and another the Ardagh group, or are also moving on the Level 3 courses in operations and maintenance, engineering and other courses.
Andrew Denton, asset superintendent at Perenco, said the energy industry in the East of England was “alive and kicking”
“In terms of long term employability, the skills and the experience you get are easily portable into different areas, which give you fantastic employability,” said Denton.
Opportunities for engineers and technicians lie ahead for the “new blood” with longevity of the industry.
The awards were presented by Nigel Spencer, of ECITB.
Student of the Year at Lowestoft College was Skye Birch. Most Improved Student was William Johnson.
At Great Yarmouth College, Student of the Year was Liam Woolston with George King named as Most improved Student.
Lowestoft College students were Skye Birch, Lawson Craigo-Moore, Reece Edwards-King, Harry Farringdon, Jordan Grimmer, William Johnson, Alex Lown, Alex Mathers, Joshua Rousseau, Joshua Salter, Oliver Sadler and Rhys Wilson.
Great Yarmouth College students were Harley Blaxell, Shaun Denton, Alex Garford-Turner, Jack Green, George King, Conor Nixon, Callum Raywood, Amber Riddings, Charles Rounce, Ethan Scally, Antony Shiers, Toby Stewart and Liam Woolston.
Image: Energy Skills Foundation Program students from Great Yarmouth College and Lowestoft College/Skills for Energy