Last week I had the pleasure of meeting people from around the world, brought together by the fact that we were all part of the energy industry, and in this case, focused on sharing knowledge in the oil and gas sector at the 21st World Petroleum Congress in Moscow. A common worry during the event was the bottleneck that the industry is facing across the board – albeit to different degrees in different geographies – to attract, develop and retain a talented, diverse and competent workforce, in a range of key roles where we know gaps exist, from technicians to the next industry leaders. This was confirmed at the session I chaired later in the week on that very theme.
Back in the UK, the topic of standards and accessing the competence to attain them reigns strong. Why? Well, this week, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is launched – to help the UK to meet Article 8 of the EU’s Energy Services Directive. This means large companies will need to regularly audit their energy performance – using competent people to do so. As the industry’s professional body, the EI has been advising the UK Government about what competent in this context means – reflected in the membership of the EI’s Register of Professional Energy Consultants and so we are ready to support the scheme. Ultimately, competence is essential for the industry to operate to the highest standard, whether in drilling oil wells or identifying opportunities for energy saving. But there’s another reason why we should worry. If the energy industry is to gain public trust, demonstrating the competence of its practitioners will go a long way to help.