The Oil & Gas Academy of Scotland (OGAS) - in which the University of Aberdeen is a partner - was today (10 May 2013) given a cash boost by First Minister Alex Salmond to improve oil and gas training facilities and develop other energy sector skills courses
The announcement was followed by a visit by Mr Salmond to Aberdeen College’s Altens Centre which also houses ASET International Oil and Gas Training Academy – a wholly owned subsidiary company of the College.
The package is just one of the projects to receive support as part of The Energy Skills Scotland (ESS) initiative which will work with industry to boost collaboration and talent flow into and across the energy sector – driving specific work to encourage and support more women, young people and mid-career professionals into the industry.
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, the designated lead institution for OGAS, said, “The £1.75M contribution provided by the Scottish Government, and £673,000 from Capital funds to support the development of the Oil and Gas Academy Scotland will be used to support a number of initiatives and is most welcome. It will allow us to significantly support the region and help to establish the North-East as a high value innovation and skills centre in the oil and gas industry.”
The funding will be used to support the following activity: Aberdeen College: £600,000 for engineering equipment; Banff & Buchan College: £543,000 for a new welding facility and equipment; Aberdeen University: £950,000 for hydrocarbon equipment for Aberdeen University; Robert Gordon University: £280,000 for a drilling simulator.
In addition, £50,000 has been allocated for the development of a shared website for OGAS.
Principal Rob Wallen, Aberdeen College said, “This is indeed good news which will allow us to improve provision that better meets the needs of the Energy industry in the North East of Scotland and increase the number of trained people in the key skills areas required by the Sector.”
Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Aberdeen said, “The support of government for this initiative is a strong indication of the value attached to the education and training the institutions involved currently offer for the industry, and a vote of confidence in what we can collectively achieve in future."
OGAS is a consortium of six further and higher education institutions which include the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; Aberdeen College (and its subsidiary oil and gas training company - ASET International Oil & Gas Training Academy); Banff & Buchan College; Forth Valley College and Heriot-Watt University.
Through the Energy Skills Scotland funding £1.04m has been allocated to support accelerated growth of energy skills programmes at Heriot-Watt University with an additional £460,000 provided from the Scottish Funding Council from their strategic funds making a total funding allocation of £1.46m.
£1.21m has also been allocated to develop engineering capacity and facilities at Forth Valley College.
OGAS Management Group member Professor Steve Mclaughlan, Head of School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University said, “This injection of cash will ensure that the training we offer remains relevant and up to date. As an OGAS partner, we will discuss current and new provision and development opportunities with industry partners, and will develop new provision based on market research and specific employer needs.”
Dean Williams, Head of Department of Engineering at Forth Valley College said, “Forth Valley welcomes the support from the Government which will be used to enhance our existing facilities to ensure that the best training and development solutions are offered for the industry.”
OGAS will be at the heart of Energy Skills Scotland. Its aim is to establish the OGAS Partnership as a main provider in Scotland of high quality education and training for the oil and gas sector.
In order to support this key national and international industry, together the six institutions will align their range of education and training available at all levels and work together by sharing resources to reduce duplication of effort.
The OGAS partners will be able to better support professional development for employees throughout their careers and to encourage young people to seek employment in the industry.
Sandra Walker, Director (Curriculum and Learning), Aberdeen College who chairs the OGAS Management Group said, “One of our aims is to work with schools and local authorities to attract more young people – including young women – to the oil and gas and wider energy sectors. In addition, OGAS will oversee and participate in the promotion of careers in the oil and gas and wider energy industry and will work to attract more employees to the industry and the region.”