Oil and gas workers are being given the chance to retrain as teachers as part of a support package from the Scottish Government for Scotland’s northeast.
The news was announced Tuesday by Education Secretary Angela Constance, alongside plans to consider measures to improve the recruitment of teachers and headteachers in the region. Ms Constance said that the Scottish Government would develop a pathway into teaching for oil and gas workers through the use of the £12 million ($17 million) Transition Training Fund announced earlier this month by the First Minister.
The number of redundancies or job consultations announced by oil and gas companies in Scotland has reached almost 10,000, according to figures from the Scottish Government. The industry body, Oil & Gas UK, estimate that the total employment supported by the sector across the UK has fallen by around 65,000 jobs.
In a statement sent to Rigzone, SNP MSP Mark McDonald said:
“It’s essential that we keep skilled workers in the North East and give individuals the opportunity to retrain into new fields – creating a pathway into teaching is an ideal way to allow oil and gas workers to pass on their skills and experience to the next generation.
“It is also significant that the Education Secretary has recognized the pressure on teacher recruitment in the region and will explore new ways to attract teachers and headteachers to the North East. This is something I have discussed with the Education Secretary, particularly with an eye on boosting the number of STEM qualified teachers in the North East, and I welcome the Government taking this approach.
“After recently announcing Scottish Government investment of £379 million ($547 million), including our £125 million ($180 million) share of the City Deal, the SNP has demonstrated that we are absolutely committed to supporting the North East and ensuring the long term prosperity of the region.”
A separate Scottish Government spokesperson told Rigzone:
“There is no doubt that the conditions facing the North Sea oil and gas sector are extremely challenging and the downturn in the oil prices is having a very real impact on the workforce. 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.
“We will be working with a wide range of partners to develop options to allow individuals to bring their skills and expertise into teaching – including with local authorities to assess their demand for teachers.”