Engineers and IT pros working through Umbrella Companies in the oil and gas industry can look forward to an extended period of demand in the light of a new government announcement: its strategy to secure billions of pounds worth of long-term investment and thousands of new jobs in the industry is now in place.

The strategy aims to ensure tax certainty, supply chain support and to bridge the sector’s skills gap. The industry employs 400,000 people and anticipates needing an additional 15,000 staff over the next four to five years.

Under the strategy, Newcastle University will receive £7 million to set up the new Neptune centre for subsea and offshore engineering, which will place its emphasis on creating reserves of highly-skilled graduates to plug the skills gap.

Commenting on the initiative, business secretary Vince Cable said: “The oil and gas industrial strategy is the start of a real plan of action owned by industry and government. It is a strategy that all sides are committed to, so that future decades of investment and growth can be maintained in the North Sea.”

He went on: “This is an expanding industry. We can either help create more jobs and opportunities across the UK if we get this right, or see work going overseas if not.”

The chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, Malcolm Webb, welcomed the initiative and said that it would foster strong collaboration between the industry and government, addressing vital areas such as skills, technology and exports. It will, he continued, boost investor confidence, strengthen oilfield services across the UK, safeguard jobs, and maximise the exploitation of the country’s oil and gas reserves.

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