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ABERDEEN will lose its place as a leading oil & gas centre if it cannot recruit 120,000 skilled workers over the next 10 years, according to a report by PwC.

Almost half the local relevant workforce is aged over 45, PwC says. Oil & Gas UK recently highlighted a fall in the number of 35-49 year olds working offshore in the North Sea. It will be a massive task simply replacing those who will leave in coming years. PwC estimate 96,000 will leave and need replacing. Add another 24,000 due to growth in activity and Aberdeen will have to recruit the equivalent of its entire existing workforce. And, all the while, the City faces intense competition for staff from other oil and gas centres around the world.

Strong growth in global energy demand is forecast, underpinned by growth in China and elsewhere. £31 billion of investment in existing oil fields and new ones off Shetland is already planned and experts say the North Sea could remain buoyant for years, but not without a good supply of skilled labour. Demand is also rising from the renewables market.

The good news is that the Scottish Government plans to invest £3.25 million in an “academy” to train workers in the energy sector.

Aberdeen University, Robert Gordon University, Banff and Buchan College and Aberdeen College have come together, the aim being to provide courses to support the development of skills in oil and gas, renewables, thermal generation and carbon capture and storage. The Scottish Government’s plan is for the academy to work with employers and co-ordinate activities among training providers to overcome the skills shortage and stimulate interest among jobseekers.

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