Robert Gordon University (RGU) is launching a programme to help ambitious businesses in the energy sector to accelerate their growth, backed indirectly by Sir Ian Wood, founder of energy and engineering services group Wood.
Fit4Energy (F4E) is a suite of practical courses aiming to help companies plan and implement growth – and has been developed with support from the Energy Industries Council (EIC) and private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE).
The latter received an initial investment of £25 million over five years, increased to £62m over ten years at the end of March this year, from the Wood Foundation, which was set up by Wood and his immediate family in 2007.
F4E, due to start in January, will address market demand for bespoke scale-up training in the oil, gas and energy sector. It is mainly aimed at small to medium sized enterprises in the supply chain and is also suitable for larger firms to help develop key personnel and specific skill sets to support growth.
It is looking to underpin growth in the supply chain, and anchor oil, gas and energy activity in the North-east long term.
The programme is setting out to provide businesses with scale-up knowledge, tools and connections. It offers a suite of 11 courses and will span topics including diversification, exporting, innovation and technology, and marketing.
The content has been created with the support of successful companies, trade organisations and government agencies, and draws on RGU’s long-standing relationships with the industry.
It says it will equip key personnel with the skills and insights to accelerate growth plans, enabling firms to deploy various tools to support trading overseas, improve value for the customer, grow their professional network and learn from other organisations in the UK energy sector.
Elizabeth Gammie, head of Aberdeen Business School at RGU, said F4E “gives companies access to leading knowledge, strategic change and sectoral expertise, to support their ability to scale, innovate and internationalise.
“We are delighted to have the support of ONE and EIC and together with our strategic relationships, we will be able to maximise value to all participating companies.”
EIC chief executive Stuart Broadley said: “Businesses need targeted training and support in the area of scale-up and I am absolutely delighted that, through the F4E programme, we’re making that vision a reality.”
And Trevor Garlick, chair of ONE Oil, Gas & Energy, said F4E “aims to help companies grow faster and more successfully… and builds upon the region’s reputation as a global centre for oil, gas and energy skills development”.