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Oil & Gas

Oil and gas remains a major driver of Scotland’s economy. The industry's skills pipeline must be responsive to cope with patterns of worldwide demand. 

Production of both fuels in Scotland has declined since a peak in 1999 for oil and 2000 for gas, but significant resources remain to be extracted. According to a Scottish Government report, Scotland was the largest producer of oil and second largest producer of gas in the EU in 2012. In comparison to the rest of the world, Scotland is estimated to be the 22nd largest producer of oil and the 27th largest for gas. (Source: Energy in Scotland 2014, The Scottish Government)

A major source of employment

Despite some volatility in the market, oil and gas remains the main employer in Scotland’s energy sector, with around 196,000 jobs − 90% of them based onshore. And almost six in ten Scottish energy jobs are in Aberdeen City and Shire, reflecting the dominance of oil and gas. (Source: Scottish Government Growth Sector Statistics)

Oil and gas employer needs

Although the total workforce in oil and gas is predicted to fall over the next five years, there remain significant recruitment needs. It is estimated that 12,000 new entrants will join the sector by 2019. Companies also report skills gaps in senior roles in technical safety, drilling, geosciences, and business support services. (Source: Fuelling the Next Generation - A study of the UK upstream oil and gas workforce − Oil & Gas UK, OPITO, Department of Business Innovation & Skills, 2014)

Redundancy support

Skills Development Scotland is part of the Energy Jobs Taskforce. Along with partners we’re dedicated to helping those affected by the recent changes in the Oil and Gas industry.

If you or someone you know needs help you can:

  • Visit the redundancy section of My World of Work
  • Match People Skills can help you use your transferable skills in other industries
  • Call 0800 917 8000 to request one to one support from expert SDS careers advisers

If you’re an employer you can call 0800 783 6000 for help and advice.

Knowledge and skills 

This section includes information on courses and qualifications to help you to up-skill staff or fill gaps in your workforce.


These organisations can help you to address gaps in your workforce knowledge, or when you’re introducing new work processes and practices.

Oil and Gas UK (the trade body for the sector) reports a shortage of onshore skills including subsea and drilling engineering. Training workers with similar competencies in other industries is one way to plug the gap.

Increasing numbers of employers across many industries are investing in Modern Apprentices. Younger employees bring new energy and diversity to your business, and their training means you have the right mix of skills flowing through your organisation’s talent pipeline.


£5,000 is available to help cover the wage and recruitment costs of taking on a Modern Apprentice made redundant by another employer. You’ll also add a valuable, skilled employee to your workforce.

Key points

  • the apprentice has been made redundant within the oil and gas sector
  • you take them on for at least 12 months
  • £5,000 is awarded in a one off, lump sum
  • the offer includes apprentices from the wider supply chain, including Modern Apprenticeship frameworks in engineering and engineering construction
  • any employer in the public or private sector is eligible to apply.

A £2,000 Adopt an Apprentice award is available to help businesses recruit apprentices made redundant in other sectors.

Note, the financial incentive is deemed to be State Aid under European Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013. Businesses can only receive a maximum of €200,000 of such aid over a three year period.

How to apply

We’ll put you in contact with a local training provider who can make the application on your behalf. Find out more at Our Skillsforce or call Skills Development Scotland on 0800 783 6000.

These industry specific courses and qualifications cover essential skills and competencies in the oil and gas sector.


Keeping abreast of changes in qualifications, or employing people from the rest of the UK and Europe with different certificates, can be confusing. Visit Our Skillsforce for information on understanding qualifications