Training & Recruitment

Keeping the skills pipeline flowing

Semta International developing Oman skills pipeline
Paul Morgan, Semta International Sector Development Specialist, working with colleagues onsite in Oman

In the intense global search to source skills in the oil and gas business, Semta International chief John Mountford says the answers might lie close to home

The oil and gas industry the world over is having to dig deep to secure the skills it needs to keep pipelines open, homes lit and heated, planes flying, cars running, and the wheels of industry turning.

The market for skills has become ever more turbulent, an environment that would give the most febrile of dealing room floors a run for its money. You haven’t got the skills locally – no problem – just go and buy them in at great expense from somewhere and someone else.

A short-term solution for an endemic problem

As the new kid on the block, Semta International is harnessing the very best of British know-how, experience and apprenticeship models to change the face of skills for the benefit of companies, countries and continents alike.

By creating new rich seams of home-grown talent, we hope to undo the damage that ‘skills grabs’ wreak on companies and countries that have invested in skills, only to suffer from an exodus to those waving inflated pay cheques.

The philosophy is simple. We go to the areas where skills are needed and help establish protocols, systems and structures to generate sustainable skills in the very places that they are required.

Keeping pace with industry needs

Our organisation is building on the heritage and the same professional, flexible and accommodating approach to business as its parent company in the UK – with employers and learners at the heart of everything we do – to ensure the vocational education system is fit-for-purpose and delivers the skills required by the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.

Achievement is formally acknowledged with internationally recognised, high quality specialised qualifications, providing learners with an international passport for their chosen career.

Standards and qualifications are kept under constant review as part of a robust Quality Assurance approach, making sure technical education keeps pace with industry needs, tested against international benchmarks. Semta International’s antecedence is impeccable. Semta is the employer led organisation tasked with skilling engineering and advanced manufacturing across the UK. The Semta Group includes awarding organisation EAL, which is the country’s leading industry specialist. More than 1.3m people have embarked on an EAL award during the last ten years.

Skilling up in Oman

A major initiative is already under way in Oman, where Semta International and its partners have worked collaboratively with the Ministry of Manpower, OPAL and members of the In-Country Development Team (IVC) team and industry experts to successfully deliver an initial pilot project.

A full suite of National Occupation Standards, Qualification Structure, Assessment Strategy and a qualification were developed for the Welding and Fabrication industry at Level 3.

The success of the Omani pilot has triggered an expansion of the project to other specialist areas such as lifting, health and safety, engineering maintenance, design, electrical engineering and engineering manufacture.

During the next two years a process and a model will be developed, similar to the UK’s apprentice training.

Our longer term strategy is to help Oman to develop a self-sustained skills system that meets its needs.

Together, we will develop a vital infrastructure to serve the dynamic oil and gas industry, through the enhancement not only of the quantity, but the quality of engineering skills in Oman, which will in turn benefit the Oman economy.

A workforce for tomorrow in the skills pipeline

We understand the importance of harnessing and developing the talent pipeline today to ensure we are able to provide a skilled workforce for tomorrow’s advanced engineering and manufacturing industries.

Skills migration has played its part in ensuring that developing nations evolve socially and economically – but now it’s time for a change of focus to kick-start sustainable supplies of indigenous skilled and motivated employees – that have the ability and a vested interest in helping their nations grow. ■

John Mountford

Development Director

Semta International

Tel: 0845 643 9001



From Adjacent Oil & Gas 5, November 2016



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