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Armed Forces personnel targeted to fill skills gap

11/02/14

A fresh approach to addressing the skills gap in Aberdeen is being taken by the city council's Business Growth team.

City firms seeking to fill vacancies and recruit skilled professionals are invited to join the council at a range of recruitment fairs run by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) across the UK.

Aberdeen City Council's senior officer for employability, skills and community enterprise Heather Farquhar will be promoting the city as a choice destination for professionals, at a series of events aimed specifically at armed services personnel seeking civilian posts.

More than 20,000 service leavers enter the civilian job market through the CTP each year, including highly-trained engineers, technicians, trainers, administrators, IT managers, drivers, chefs, nurses, pilots, experienced managers and communications experts. Many of them have skills which are transferable to the energy industry.

Council leader Barney Crockett said: "Aberdeen is a fantastic place to live and work. This city has very low unemployment rates and there are vacancies available across all sectors, especially for those with technical skills, in the oil industry.

"As Aberdeen continues to flourish and grow, more and more business opportunities are arising – many of them in the energy industry. A considerable amount of work is being carried out by both the private and public sector to encourage young people into the industry and train them to become engineers of the future, but the demand and need for qualified, experienced specialists now is such that we have to look outwith the city to recruit talent to fill the skills gap or risk losing business."

Heather Farquhar added: "There has never been a problem attracting appropriate personnel to service offshore contracts, as this has minimum disruption on home life. Our challenge is to encourage sufficient numbers of appropriate personnel to relocate to Aberdeen city and shire to meet the demands of the onshore support sector.

"The CTP recruitment fairs present strong opportunities for Aberdeen City Council to promote our city as an ideal place to relocate to, and for businesses to recruit high-calibre staff."

The CTP events Aberdeen City Council will be attending are as follows:
• York, 7 March;
• Cornwall, 27 March;
• Perth, 14 May;
• Bristol, 18 June;
• Southampton, 11 September.

Attendance costs 300 per company.

Aberdeen is the best city to live and work in Scotland, and second best in the UK, according to the 2013 Good Growth for Cities index. It presents excellent employment opportunities for a broad range of professionals, particularly in the energy sector. The city is continuing to grow and attracting significant levels of national and international business investment.

However, the region faces significant competition from overseas, particularly Norway, Sweden, German, New Zealand, Canada and Australia, in attracting personnel. The global demand for qualified and experienced engineers has a massive inflationary impact on demanded salaries and conditions, further inflating production costs and reduction profit levels and investment.

Expansion of the labour pool in the region is a long-term strategy, with work already underway to encourage more people into the sector. Educational establishments are producing graduates in all aspects of engineering, but companies are seeking candidates with experience and qualifications.

Any Aberdeen businesses interested in attending should contact senior employability, skills and community enterprise officer Heather Farquhar by calling 01224 523361 or emailing hfarquhar@aberdeencity.gov.uk

While the council's role is to promote the city as a destination and to give background information in relation to the cost of living, education, lifestyle, culture, etc, the Business Growth team may consider carrying vacancies for Aberdeen companies which are unable to attend.