Transferrable skills within the energy sector: challenges and opportunities

Career Advice

By John Currie
November 15, 2017

October 5, 2020

0 min read

Transferrable skills are like passports. They give you access to a world of opportunity

With the oil and gas downturn still being a point of discussion, many people are seeing what else they can turn their hand to within the energy industry.

And as it turns out, there are several sectors snapping up the highly-skilled oil and gas workforce. So, what are these transferrable skills and how do you apply them elsewhere?

Floating skills

Prior to offshore windfarms, one thing unique to the oil and gas sector was offshore gravity-based concrete structures, used commonly for drilling, extraction or storage units.

These structures require engineering, construction, and project management skills. Windfarms now also use the same structure, so the renewables industry is in need of similar skills.

If you have a civil engineering degree and experience with floating offshore structures, knock at this door of opportunity.

High-pressure skills

Oil and gas is not alone in requiring skills for high-pressure pipework. The petrochemical, chemical and onshore power-generation sectors are also in need of people with experience in project management, maintenance and installation.

Because high-pressure regulations are broadly the same in other sectors, it will assist with transition and acclimatisation.

This often reduces the training needed when changing industries.

High-voltage skills

There is a wealth of high-voltage work not just within oil and gas but also renewables, transmission and distribution.

Whatever your role, whether it’s a designer, commissioner or project manager, the safety procedures in high-voltage environments are similar across the energy sectors, which can significantly ease the transition.

Health and safety expertise

Health and safety is critical. So, if you can do it in oil and gas, you can likely do it anywhere else within energy – from renewables to power.

However, each sector does tend to have slightly different standards, meaning to transfer to certain sectors, you’ll need additional training such as a Client Contractor National Survey Group safety passport course.

Instrumentation skills

The final top transferable skill is within instrumentation. The oil and gas industry has some of the most technical and advanced instruments within energy.

Therefore, to manage, engineer or fabricate these instruments in alternative industries, your experience in oil and gas will stand you in good stead.

There are many skills within the oil and gas industry that can be put to other industries with minimal training. However, it definitely doesn’t come without challenges, as from one sector to another, the knowledge changes.

A lot of employees find that the skills may well be transferrable, but often the industry knowledge is not. The more in-depth understanding of a sector comes with experience and studying or training.

Oil and gas projects tend to run a little differently and the change of environment can be a shock to the system.

However, if you are aware of these differences and sometimes prepared for a slight reduction in pay, then it may be the perfect opportunity; the opportunity to gain an international passport, visas included.

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