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Oil industry 'missing the boat' by overlooking military service leavers

The oil and gas industry is “missing the boat” by overlooking military service leavers at a time when alarm bells about skills shortages are ringing loudly, a former army officer has said.

But the sector can benefit if it gets its game together, according to Peter Eadon, programme manager at TSG Marine, a Tyneside-based
engineering firm which specialises in walk-to-work solutions.

The company, founded in 2008 by former Royal Navy Reservist Allan
Syme, recently won an award at the Ex-Forces in Business Awards for its ex-military recruitment and education programme.

More than 70 service leavers have passed through its Ex-Forces Talent Pipeline in the last six months.

About five of TSG Marine’s 13 full-time staff members are service leavers.

Meanwhile, work is lined up for another 20 ex-servicemen, either
with TSG Marine or third parties.

Mr Eadon, who spent a decade in operations management in the
military defence sector, said there is a clear need in the market for these
people.

The average age of workers in the oil industry is high and there
are no serious plans to address that issue.

He said businesses had to identify quality that will not destroy their culture when they are looking to grow.

Any company can double in size,but there is no guarantee of success.

Mr Eadon claims there are obviousbenefits to employing people who have left the armed forces.

“These guys have delivered engineering and operational excellence in extreme locations,” he said.

“Logistical excellence is the norm for them. They’re used to
harsh environments and having to succeed. They can’t make excuses. They have to be ready.”

But all too often, oil and gas companies are overlooking what could be a rich talent pool.

He attributes this to a conscious or unconscious bias held by recruiters.

Mr Eadon said: “Because you mention defence or the infantry
they assume something must be wrong with these people.

“It’s discrimination. Only 4% of people returning from places like
Afghanistan and Iraq have mental health issues.

“The other 96% are highly experienced in operations logistics and engineering.

“Well-trained, robust people are getting signposted to charity
or corporate social responsibility departments, rather than hiring
managers – that’s a failing of the industry.”

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