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A £12million fund giving workers from Scotland’s oil and gas sector the chance to use their skills in new jobs has helped more than 4000 people.

The Transition Training Fund was launched by the First Minister in February 2016 to assist those affected by the global downturn in oil and gas, providing training grants to help people improve their skills and find new jobs.

With the three-year fund due to close by 31 March at the latest, anyone eligible is being urged to apply as soon as possible if they wish to join the thousands of oil and gas workers who have benefited from support so far.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Transition Training Fund was a key part of the work done by the Energy Jobs Taskforce to support people through the downturn in the oil and gas sector. From my meetings with participants, the Transition Training Fund has been a great success.

“With Scotland being a global leader in the energy sector, it was essential to retain those highly-valued skills and help people continue their careers. I know first-hand from my own time spent talking with those who applied that the support provided was a real help during a difficult time in their careers.”

More than 3700 people have had individual applications for support through the Transition Training Fund approved. More than 300 people have accessed support through training providers, and through courses aimed at workers aged over 50, and workers with managerial experience.

The Transition Training Fund will close to new applications once funds are fully allocated. This is expected to happen during March, and the fund will close on 31 March at the latest.

Retaining core skills

Gordon McGuinness, Director of Industry and Enterprise at SDS, said: “The Transition Training Fund was part of a range of measures aimed at helping people cope with restructuring in the oil and gas sector.

“The outlook for the sector is now much more stable than it was three years ago, and it is clear that the Transition Training Fund has played an important role in retaining many of the core skills that employers across the supply chain will need in the years to come, as well as helping people transition into jobs in other sectors.

“Support also remains available to anyone affected by redundancy through SDS’s network of local centres to help people get the right advice, find work or access training.”

Ninety per cent of Transition Training Fund users say they are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their experience of using the fund.

More than two-thirds of those who have used the fund are now back in employment, and more than half of those in employment have remained in the oil and gas sector.

Amongst all those who used the fund, 87 per cent said it helped them become more confident, and 93 per cent said it improved their job prospects.

"From my meetings with participants, the Transition Training Fund has been a great success. With Scotland being a global leader in the energy sector, it was essential to retain those highly-valued skills and help people continue their careers."

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse

Helpful support

One user who credits the fund with helping him take the next steps in his career is Douglas McInally.

The father-of-three from Arbroath had been working offshore when he was made redundant, and used the Transition Training Fund to update previous qualifications he had as a gas engineer.

He went on to secure a post with SSE, and now trains engineers across Scotland in fitting the latest generation of smart meters.

Douglas said: “Going through redundancy from the oil and gas sector was very tough and so getting support from the Transition Training Fund was extremely important.

“Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get the job with SSE and I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities.

“In addition to the funding, the support I received from SDS advisers was really helpful. It was available at just the right time and it was greatly appreciated.”

Find out more

Applications to the Transition Training Fund can still be made through the dedicated website at transitiontrainingfund.co.uk.

The website includes all eligibility criteria and lays out all steps for applying. Applications will close as soon as funds are fully allocated, or by 31 March at the latest.

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