A unique training partnership has seen 10 domestic heating/plumbing engineers develop the skills to operate as pipefitters in the oil and gas industry.

Wood Group partnered with the Nigg Skills Academy, a training centre in Scotland set up specifically to address skill shortages within the energy industry and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) to develop the 16-week residential course.

While there are differences many of the basic trade skills and principles are the same, they just take place on a different scale as the diagram below demonstrates. The training course addresses these differences and trainees participate in both practical sessions and computer based training to complete full certification. Upon completion of the course, the newly qualified pipefitters have joined various contracts across the UK and another 10 trainees are currently following fast in their footsteps transitioning through the same course.

Danny McIlwham, Wood Group’s UK head of construction, says: "This is a vital investment for us. Despite the difficult climate there remain serious challenges to deploying the right skilled personnel across our projects.

"These are not trainees in the usual sense; they already have many of the skills we need. We’re just repurposing them for an industrial environment. In that sense we are able to get them fully trained and qualified far quicker. This is a real boost to our skill pool and helps ease the pressure on our current skill base." Andy Trotter, Wood Group’s corporate construction manager adds: "There has been a fantastic exchange of expertise as our new trainees from domestic trades bring a different perspective. We are leading the way in this area and the fresh enthusiasm and new challenge for our processes that these trainees bring, will help drive further improvements across our business."