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Bibby Offshore shows Aberdeen’s workforce of tomorrow the career opportunities of today

Manchester United and England Football ace Bryan Robson kicked off proceedings yesterday (Tuesday 28 May) by supporting the opening of Bibby Offshore’s brand new purpose-built headquarters, Atmosphere One, at Prospect Park, Westhill.

The company recently relocated from Aberdeen Harbour to the new office facility at Prospect Park, Westhill, to provide Bibby Offshore with the additional capacity necessary to support its significant increase in staff numbers and services, as Bibby Offshore’s operations expand both in the UK and internationally.

Bibby Offshore is on track to achieve a turnover of £220million by the end of 2013 and plans to increase this to £650million by 2017.

The subsea installation contractor arranged a night of networking and entertainment for friends, family, clients and employees for the launch of its 53,427 sq.ft, multi-million pound facilities.

As part of the official launch of the new building and in line with the company’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, Bibby Offshore extended the invite to the opening of its facilities to ‘Bibby Offshore Schools Ambassadors’ from  schools across the UK including Aberdeen, Lerwick, Liverpool and Glasgow.

The visit allowed them to learn about the wealth of career opportunities there are at the company, throughout Aberdeen city and shire, and in the oil and gas industry as a whole.

The students, between the ages of 11 and 17, will share their experiences with other schools in their area and Bibby Offshore also donated £1000 to each school to be utilised in skills development programs.

Bibby Offshore’s Chief Executive Howard Woodcock said: “The move was essential due to the speed at which we are expanding - with staff numbers due to increase by more than 100 over the next four years, the impressive demand for the company’s expertise, and our growth strategy to treble our turnover by 2017. We have a number of key initiatives in place to ensure we recruit and train the most talented people in order to ensure the business can continue to grow.  

“Our industry is dependent on attracting talented, skilled people and to meet global demand, it’s essential that young people are aware of the excellent opportunities which are available in the North East and within the energy sector as a whole.

“All of the schools were thrilled to get involved and have been really enthusiastic throughout the whole process. We targeted schools from across the country, with Liverpool and Aberdeen being obvious choices due to the significant presence Bibby Offshore has in these cities.”

Mr Robson said: “It’s fantastic to see a business doing well which is still working from grassroots level in order to continue its impressive success. Educating, training and investing time and effort into individuals is the best way to ensure a company continues evolving and expanding, as people really are what make a business.

“I’m involved in The Manchester United Foundation that works in some of the most disadvantaged areas across Greater Manchester and uses the passion for Manchester United to educate, motivate and inspire young people, so feel very strongly about motivating children from a young age about what their future could hold.

“I could see from my visit that there is a lot of passion from Bibby Offshore’s employees for what they do and what they have achieved, and it was a great honour to be part of their celebrations.”

Earlier in the day, First Minister Alex Salmond also visited the company’s new premises, he said: “Scotland’s energy industry is one of our economic success stories and it is therefore vital that we ensure there is a steady stream of professionals equipped with the skills to keep pace with our potential. That is why companies such as Bibby Offshore, whose parent company has such a long and distinguished maritime heritage, are essential in developing the workforce to keep our energy industry evolving, thriving and contributing to Scotland’s economic success.

“In this, the company’s 10th year in Aberdeen, it is only fitting that they have expanded into new premises and continue to be well positioned to deliver significantly enhanced capabilities for the sector in the future.”

One of Bibby Offshore’s core values is to realise the talent of its people, having introduced schemes that encourage individuals to meet their potential including the Engineer Conversion Course, Graduate Training Scheme, Future Managers Programme and Bibby Academy. Since starting the Conversion Course in September 2012, the company has added an additional 12 engineers to its staff and is planning another intake of eight in September 2013. 14 students have had the chance to experience the Graduate Training Programme and Bibby Offshore has plans to recruit a further eight this September. The Future Managers Programme has also been a great success – with 65% of those who have completed the programme having gone onto be promoted into managerial or lead roles.  

Neil Hendry, Head Teacher at Northfield Academy said: "Northfield Academy is committed to ensuring that our young people are given a number of opportunities to engage with business and increase their understanding of the skills and qualities required to be successful in the 21st century. We are delighted to be attending this launch event for Bibby Offshore which will increase our young people’s understanding of the variety of career opportunities the oil and gas industry offer in Aberdeen City.

“The donation will be used to part fund the development of a new welding and maintenance room to offer Engineering courses as part of the curriculum at Northfield Academy.”

Mr Woodcock continued: “Aberdeen City and shire is the Global Centre of excellence within the subsea sector and the innovation which is present here is setting the benchmark for the rest of the world. To ensure it continues to prosper, it’s important that there is continued investment in the industry, through training and skills development.

“Over the last decade, Bibby Offshore has grown considerably and we have successfully created jobs for over 1,000 people, within the UK and internationally. Our business needs good people, and by introducing these young people to the industry we hope to make  sure that, from a young age, they are aware of the abundance of opportunities there are available within it.  

The training and development schemes Bibby Offshore has introduced have helped to provide a high quality pool of workers who are encouraged to meet their potential and help give Bibby Offshore the skills boost it needs. Bibby Offshore currently has more than 1,300 people working onshore and offshore worldwide, with offices in Aberdeen, Liverpool, Singapore and Trinidad. It recently added two new vessels to the fleet and continues to expand its subsea construction, engineering and project delivery services.