The challenges facing the oil and gas industry come in all shapes and sizes¸ SAS Brigadier Tony Ling was in Malta recently running security courses but it ranges from the search for sustainable technologies to the increased number of icebergs threatening North Sea drilling operations¸ or rockets potentially hitting rigs in the Eastern Mediterranean.
All need solutions¸ so those students looking to gain postgraduate qualifications in the field could find their skills in demand once they graduate. Twenty Maltese graduates from Global College Malta’s Robert Gordon University Masters courses will receive a €5000 scholarship each if they successfully apply by August 13th this year.
“The industry is currently going through a period of unprecedented change with thousands of new jobs likely to be created over the coming years¸” explains Sarah Beacock FEI¸ professional affairs director of the Energy Institute (energyinst.org)¸ the professional body for the industry. “Taking on these challenges requires well-qualified scientists and engineers with a holistic approach to identifying sustainable solutions.”
Global College Malta together with Robert Gordon University (RGU) are providing up to twenty €5000 scholarships to Maltese citizens provided they apply by latest August 13th backed by the best graduate job record in the UK. “Graduates leave with a qualification which will truly enhance their employability¸” says Madeleine Marcella¸ from the RGU business school. “Many of our courses have been developed in direct response to industry demand.” Graduates will have the opportunity to work in various energy firms¸ engineering organisations¸ and project service companies.
Global College Malta Rector Professor Brian Smart says that current chronic skills shortages in the oil & gas industry are leading to well-paid job opportunities. The MSc in Oil and Gas Engineering is specifically designed by RGU to attract graduates in engineering aiming at penetrating the industry. The course structure is also approved by and abides to the guidelines set by the Energy Institute (EI). Lectures¸ seminars and workshops will be delivered at GCM’s campus located at SmartCity by RGU professionals. Students study 9 modules over the duration of the course.
Successful applicants will be able to pay for their education in stage payments to further assist local students.
It appears that the culprit behind the skills shortage is a matter of simple demographics and management’s desire to expand drilling and production operations. According to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission¸ the average age of industry employees is between 46 and 49. Although it may appear like they still have a few more years of solid work ahead¸ the average age for retirement in the industry is 55¸ not 65 as in other industries. That means that within the next five years¸ the bulk of senior scientists and engineers could potentially be leaving the field.
A number of retirements wouldn’t be too bad if management wasn’t trying to couple that with an increase in drilling and production activities as well. According to the Oil and Gas Journal¸ over 23 additional rigs were established in the U.S. since the beginning of 2014. With an increase in activity comes a need for skilled and experienced workers.
The looming labour shortage crisis and management’s deci