PAYE umbrella contractors specialising in the IT skills market and in engineering could be about to enjoy a bonanza of lucrative new work opportunities over the next decade, thanks to a new ten-year initiative from the UK’s shale gas industry.
So says one of the UK’s foremost engineering institutions, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, in its Shale Gas Policy Statement. This is a thoroughgoing analysis authored by the organisation’s Head of Energy and the Environment, Dr Tim Fox.
The statement, which has been circulated to Members of Parliament, argues that shale gas exploitation, while not a “silver bullet” for the UK’s energy security, will nonetheless yield major economic benefits on a long term basis. 4,200 new jobs a year are expected to be created over a decade-long drill programme. 1,300 of these will be created each year in Lancashire alone.
Dr Fox said: “Shale gas has the potential to give some of the regions hit hardest by the economic downturn a much-needed economic boost. The engineering jobs created will also help the Government’s efforts to rebalance the UK’s skewed economy.”
He went on to argue that undue reliance on gas runs the risk of the UK falling hostage to “volatile global energy markets”. Even drilling for shale gas will not neutralise this danger, Dr Fox continued; the government must develop a balanced energy policy “incorporating renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.”
A substantial proportion of the newly created jobs are likely to be contractor roles. Professionals working though umbrella companies in the fields of engineering and IT contracting are, it would appear, about to become rather busy.