Petchem firms to discuss staff shortage
Abu Dhabi, November 20, 2013
Representatives of the oil and gas industry will discuss the personnel and training challenges they face in ensuring long-term viability of their companies at a conference in Abu Dhabi next week.
The Vtec Mena Conference, which will be run by Getenergy, at the Abu Dhabi Polytechnic from November 25 to 27, will also bring together education and training providers.
One of the main difficulties facing the industry is the lack of technically trained personnel available from within the region, said a statement.
The shortage of industry workers is being exacerbated by the large percentage of the industry’s global workforce that is approaching retirement age, it said.
The oil and gas industry is currently suffering from shortages in a wide range of skilled occupations, said an International Labour Organisation report.
Almost four out of five oil and gas companies complained that technical skills were a main area of staff shortages, it said.
This global problem is particularly acute in Gulf countries, where oil and gas companies have traditionally relied on an expatriate workforce to meet labour force demands. However, as the global talent pool dries up and expatriate labour becomes increasingly expensive to maintain, these companies are looking to the local workforce to fill more positions across a range of technical areas.
This increased reliance on local talent has many benefits for Gulf countries where youth unemployment rates are significantly higher than base unemployment rates.
In addition, many of the skills being learnt by new entrants to the industry are transferable to future employment outside of the oil and gas sectors – helping to fuel the drive in Gulf countries towards more diversified, knowledge-based economies.
However, the up-skilling of local populations presents a major challenge not only for oil and gas companies operating in the GCC, but also for local governments and training providers.
The conference offers an opportunity for the industry to connect with education and training organisations that have the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle this deep-set skills crisis.
Mark Andrews, the regional director of Pearson Qualifications International (PQI), said that vocational training is critical to ensuring the long-term success of the industry.
“The fast growing oil and gas and unconventional energy sectors are driving huge demand for vocationally trained employees throughout the Arab world. It is unsustainable to continue to have key technical functions in these businesses carried out by a transient, expatriate labour force,” he said.
“Developing partnerships between large petrochemical companies and training providers is one way in which oil and gas companies can build local talent in their organisations. Investing in the development of nationals working in the industry by providing them with an internationally accredited qualification has shown to be effective in safeguarding the future prosperity of both individuals and the companies in which they work,” he added. - TradeArabia News Service