Severe shortcomings in the arrangements for training offshore industry workers have come to light following a survey among 600 workers in the industry, mostly individual contractors, who say that they are experiencing extreme cost penalties in the form of compulsory re-training, at a personal cost averaging £1800 a year, every time they switch jobs or move from one employer to another or start a new contract with the same employer. This applies even when the training is essentially the same for both jobs and workers have to pay to repeat the training for certificates they already have, or after a period of redundancy caused by the Covid crisis, and for routine periodic renewals.

The survey, carried out by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform and Greenpeace, and supported by RMT and Unite Scotland, shows that workers strongly support the idea of an ‘offshore passport’ that would allow them to easily transfer their skills and experience between sectors. 

Respondents to a poll reported they are currently forced to pay out thousands of pounds of their own money for training courses before being hired, with no guarantee of work, and are routinely having to repeat training they have already done. One respondent expressed the general feeling in forceful words: “It’s like people are being forced to buy their jobs…It’s a money making racket as far as I’m concerned.”

Unions and campaigners have taken up the case, describing the imposition of these costs as a severe handicap both individually and in its effect on the efficiency and safety aspects of the energy transition: a process in which government has already given undertakings to protect industrialists but has failed to protect the livelihoods of employees and individual contractors in this sector. Unions and climate campaigners are calling for a government-regulated ‘offshore passport. as part of a just transition to green energy.