Scottish O&G job taskforce hands baton to Industry Leadership Group

Final meeting of Energy Jobs Taskforce; Image: Lena Wilson (Twitter)

Scotland’s Energy Jobs Taskforce has held its final taskforce meeting and is set to transfer its responsibilities to the Oil & Gas Industry Leadership Group.

Established by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in January 2015, the Energy Jobs Taskforce fulfilled its mandate, which was to ensure a long-term vision focused on securing sustainable change within the o&g sector.

During its mandate, the taskforce was able to provide targeted help to 800 companies while assisting 4,200 people facing redundancy.

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.

According to Wednesday’s statement by the Scottish Government, under the guidance of the taskforce, o&g innovation spending almost trebled last year, with £15.9 million of Scottish Enterprise support for 82 companies to deliver 111 projects.

Following the final taskforce meeting, First Minister Sturgeon, said: “The Energy Jobs Taskforce has been a catalyst for culture change, ensuring companies innovate and remain competitive while helping thousands of individuals.

“With employment levels beginning to stabilize, 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 economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, added: “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.”

Deirdre Michie, Oil & Gas UK CEO, 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.”

Grahame Smith and Jake Molloy, representatives from two trade unions, also addressed the impact the taskforce made on the industry.

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.”

Molloy, regional organizer 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.”