At the conclusion of Offshore Europe, Malcolm Webb, Chief Executive of Oil and Gas UK declared the 2013 conference a resounding success. With a record breaking number of visitors and high profile public figures such as Chancellor George Osborne, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Princess Anne in attendance, it is no surprise that the conference made headlines.

The week’s keynote speakers covered a variety of pressing topics, ranging from decommissioning to the advancement of offshore technology. However, a common thread ran through each: the need for a collaborative approach when tackling key issues within the industry.

Given that time constraints and the finite nature of resources have bred an underlying competitiveness extending beyond market leaders and across the industry, there has been little scope for collaboration in the past.

Nevertheless, it appears attitudes are changing when it comes to addressing the high profile problem of the skills gap that exists within the oil and gas industry, and the idea of cooperation in order to create a pool of talented prospective employees was very much embraced. With the organisation OPITO standing as an existing example of corporate collaboration, through its work to implement skills development initiatives in the oil and gas sector, it’s apparent that putting an end to the growing skills crisis is a shared goal.

The point, at which this growing sense of collaboration ends, is in the active reporting of the issue. nProfessor John Watson from Robert Gordon University, speaking on behalf of oil and gas skills organisation, OGAS, highlighted the issue of communication. Watson stated that in order to address the skills gap, reliable statistics charting the specific areas of concern, are vital to formulating a solution.

The need for accurate analysis was echoed succinctly by the audience as query after query arose from conference delegates, urging the panel to exhibit unambiguous evidence of this skills gap. From that point onwards, it became strikingly clear that the present skills crisis has been amplified by evident PR failures within both leading organisations and international oil and gas companies.

Identification of the issue is substantially present within coverage – it is the next step of audience engagement which is being neglected. With more than 60,000 in attendance for Offshore Europe, it’s clear that the industry as a whole is keen to work together on this issue. ­­­Nevertheless, these efforts are nullified without accurate and well-defined communication.

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