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Bright Side of Skills Gap

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Summary: For individuals who have begun their professional journey in energy, countless channels to advance have become available.

Career and Advancement Opportunities for Young Energy Workforce

The energy industry is booming! It is also an industry at a crossroads. Talks of exciting developments compete with headlines that lament a looming skills gap that threatens to hinder the sector. For the job seeker, the news is all good. The current challenges facing this thriving industry can easily translate into vast career opportunities for a young workforce. The demand for qualified professionals in both traditional energy disciplines such as natural gas and oil as well as careers in energy law and energy technology has risen significantly. According to a report published by the US Energy information Administration (EIA), between 2007 and 2012, jobs in the oil and gas industry alone increased by more than 162,000-a 40% increase. Energy companies are scrambling to fill positions vacated by a retiring workforce while simultaneously trying to acclimate to major growth in the industry. Exciting advancements in energy technology as well as new resource discoveries has added to the urgency of securing talent before the skills gap widens.

For individuals who have begun their professional journey in energy, countless channels to advance have become available. With the intent of retaining a talented workforce, many energy companies have invested in development and training programs to help accelerate professional advancement within the company. Such in-house programs allow energy professionals to achieve professional goals while remaining with the same company and contributing to its success. When in-house programs are not offered, many current professionals seek training from independent energy trainers to help them hone skills and advance their careers more rapidly. Although instructor-led courses still remain popular with energy professionals, participation in web-based training has spiked over the last decade. At The Oxford Princeton Programme, web-based delegates grew from 2,922 in 2003 to over 7,053 in 2013. The web-based option provides professionals with flexibility to enhance their skills regardless of expertise or experience.

The impending skills gap has also provided a platform for future professionals to "jump-start" their careers in energy. With more jobs becoming available, the young energy workforce has the opportunity to secure employment and advance their careers at a much more rapid rate than in years past. In addition to targeted collegiate studies, industry training resources can be utilized to help young/future professionals develop skills needed for a career in energy-prior to entering the industry. Membership in industry clubs and organizations and participation in seminars and training courses not only provide the young/future energy professional with highly relevant information and learning but also with an insider's view of the industry. This insight can be extremely helpful in providing professional direction. Such industry events and activities also often lead to informal networking with colleagues (future colleagues), which can be extremely helpful to young/future professionals working to identify a specific career path and build professional relationships.

Opportunities for non-traditional energy jobs are also on the rise. A clear indicator that energy technology is taking an even more pivotal role in the industry can be found in a recent story published by 24/7 Wall Street. The story named Service Unit Operator (Oil, Gas Mining), individuals responsible for overseeing and maintaining wells and other energy technologies, as the top growing job in the United States in 2013. Growth and progress in energy technology has helped to illuminate a new professional destination for individuals originally intending to follow a career path in the technology industry. The energy industry is working to attract professionals who can further technology advancements in energy, while tech industry ex-pats are taking advantage of industry-specific training to increase their knowledge and accelerate their career in the energy industry.

Industry growth coupled with a 'changing of the guard' has created unprecedented career opportunities for young/future energy professionals. In addition to academic instruction, industry resources-training, seminars and memberships in industry organizations and clubs are vital to secure positions, develop careers and maintain energy industry excellence.

Clara Lippert Glenn, President & CEO, The Oxford Princeton Programme (TOPP)

Clara Lippert Glenn has provided the vision and leadership behind The Oxford Princeton Programme's innovative and successful approach to interactive professional education, building it into the global leading provider of energy education since its inception in 1992. Most recently, The Oxford Princeton Programme launched an innovative student initiative that introduced TOPP's energy training to over 80 energy students from the leading colleges and universities in North America. For more information on The Oxford Princeton Programme's Future Energy Business Leaders of the 21st Century, please click here.
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