A SURVEY by an SNP MSP has found that only one in ten North Sea oil and gas workers believe they have enough opportunities to switch to renewables.

The poll of over 500 industry workers, undertaken by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin, revealed a series of challenges lie ahead in the move away from fossil fuel dependancy.

Many told of issues with recruitment, training, certification and broader issues linked to a Just Transition.

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Workers claimed that applicants from the oil and gas sector were “discriminated” against by renewable energy firms, and highlighted the high costs of retraining and a lack of information on job opportunities and support.

Martin suggested that a series of summits should be held to iron out the issues, adding that it was crucial that the work begins this year.

It comes as the UK Government has released its energy security strategy - which called for more nuclear power and drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea.

The bid has been roundly rejected by environmental campaigners who called for funding to be put towards a just transition, and for more focus on renewables.

The National: Workers in the North Sea told the MSP they need more support and trainingWorkers in the North Sea told the MSP they need more support and training

Martin’s report, which has been sent out to decision makers, concluded: “It is clear from the issues raised that many workers in oil and gas don’t feel that they are being as supported as they would like to transition into renewable sectors.”

One of the issues raised in the report was that some respondents described problems trying to find employment in the renewables sector.

Of the 559 respondents, 47% (263) said that they felt their career experience in oil and gas had created barriers to employment.

A male rigger with 35 years of experience in the sector said in the report: “[I have] tried numerous times to gain other employment onshore but am convinced that being an offshore worker has went against me being successful.”

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While a male maintenance technician with 28 years of experience said: “[I have been] turned away from onshore jobs - see offshore and not interested in giving you a chance.”

There are also concerns about how transferable skills are, and that many may be overqualified.

One respondent, Darren, who has 16 years of experience, said: “I can’t take my skills onshore as I’m deck crew.”

And a male production chemist, with 20 years of experience, said: “I’ve become too specialised in a niche role that has a limited future.”

On training opportunities, 168 respondents said that more needs to be done to help people retrain. This could be through financial incentives, free courses or training hubs set up specifically to facilitate a transition away from oil and gas.

The National: Martin launched the survey after she was reelected and called for urgent actionMartin launched the survey after she was reelected and called for urgent action

Commenting on the publication of the report, Martin said: “We have limited powers in this area, but we must lead where we can.

“We must do so in a timely manner whilst also recognising we will need oil and gas for years to come and we must support the skills, talent and knowledge which exists in the sector already.

“The North Sea oil and gas industry is home to some of the best minds, skills innovation and technology. It also had the best safety culture in the world.

“It is clear from the survey of more than 500 people that there are a range of pressures on workers, from concerns about discrimination coming from the oil and gas sector, to struggles with the cost of paying for more than one certification in order to move into renewables.”

Martin explained that there is demand for assistance from workers to help them transition.

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She added: “Many workers who spoke to us want to move into the renewables sector but are simply unsure about how to do that whilst maintaining the potential for loss of income and unsure where their skills would be suited to, and are asking for more assistance.

“Scotland is already a leader in terms of climate change targets, and have ambitions that will secure our energy supply in a sustainable way, but we must take workers with us and the aim of this survey is to demonstrate where the gaps in doing this lie so that we can get it right and move quickly.

“The North Sea oil and gas industry has given so much to Scotland and the UK and as we move to the next chapter of energy provision I wanted to give voice to the people most affected in my area-those of oil and gas workers who are actively trying to make a transition to working within the renewables sector."