Train confidence into future generations

TRAINING is vital to future-proof our industries, claims Drew Leitch
There are more in their 20s than 60s in offshore oil and gas industry. Picture: PAThere are more in their 20s than 60s in offshore oil and gas industry. Picture: PA
There are more in their 20s than 60s in offshore oil and gas industry. Picture: PA

Confidence is the catalyst that brings success across all sectors of business. It comes with age and experience, but it can also be instilled in people through training and education.

The corporate culture of many modern businesses in Scotland tends to undervalue maturity as an asset in the workplace. After 30 or more years at work, people have built up experience and skills beyond their basic job description. A long CV brings confidence in their own judgment and decision-making.

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It’s a quality which is now one of the cornerstones of the new Curriculum for Excellence in Scottish schools, where teachers focus on educating children in four capacities. They will become confident individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Young people in their 20s now outnumber the over-60s in the offshore oil and gas industry. By 2012, there were more than twice as many 23-28 year-olds as 60-65 year-olds in the sector, according to a report by Oil and Gas UK.

The changing age profile is prompting concern about the impact on the workforce. There are fears the departure of mature staff with a lifetime’s experience will result in a loss of leadership skills and confidence that comes with age.

Initiatives to address the skills shortage have been welcomed, yet there is also awareness that maturity and confidence are lost as older workers retire. There’s a recognition too that new industry entrants need training in areas beyond their immediate expertise to equip them with key skills like leadership, communication and negotiation. That means new entrants and technicians joining the energy sector from other industries must develop additional business acumen to help narrow the gaps.

Industry leaders have a responsibility to equip new recruits with training to help them to meet the demands of the challenging global oil and gas industry. This enables new entrants to get the maximum benefit from the sector and provides for a sustainable future.

Teachers are equipping our children with the skills to live full and successful lives. It is our duty as employers and parents to ensure the workplace delivers the training they need to be fulfilled at work.

Drew Leitch is managing director of global training provider MDT International