As you may know, I find myself somewhat unbusy as far paid employment in the oil and gas sector is concerned.
What I thought I would do therefore is, after the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon on the 1st of February about the Scottish Government's £12 million fund to help unbusy people like me become busy, is that I would contact the Scottish Government and see how one can get a slice of the funding pie.
What I was hoping was, upon proving that I am who I said I am and my circumstances (being made redundant from the oil business) are true, that I would get agreement to maybe fund a project manager course or, even better, a masters degree.
First of all I contacted the Scottish Government's Energy Directive, asking whom to contact. Eventually I was given the details for Oil and Gas Skills and its director Mike Duncan.
Perseverance is important. With both organisations, my initial emails went unanswered. Only on the second attempt did I receive any reply. Finally I got a call from Mr Duncan and I went through my personal circumstances.
The bottom line is this. All funding has to have a guaranteed job at the end of the process so, if you like me were hoping to change career direction by retraining upon your own initiative and then looking for work, the Scottish Government is not going to help. If, on the other hand, somebody has an employer saying that they love to employ you but can't because you don't have the necessary qualification in, say, widget-tightening, then the Oil and Gas Fund can contribute to funding the widget-tightening course. It may even cover the entire cost if the amount is not large.
In other words, the scheme is really for employers who may be looking to hire people who previously worked in the oil and gas sector but need help with the cost of retraining.
If you think you can benefit, or your company is looking to hire ex-oil workers and need additional training finance, then drop an email either to Oil and Gas Skills email@example.com or to Mike Duncan directly mike.Duncan@sds.co.uk