Johannesburg - The shortage of critical skills in the
petroleum industry needs attention, MPs heard on Tuesday.
The industry was going through a transition as a new
generation of engineers and operators entered the workplace, chairperson of the
SA Institute of Professional Accountants (Saipa), Gerard Derbesy, told
Parliament's energy portfolio committee, according to a statement from his
"This transition is largely due to a wave of retiring
expertise. There is a looming shortage of skills which are typically gained
over many years."
Derbesy said these skills were needed to ensure the safety,
reliability and environmental performance of plants.
In 2007 and 2008, Saipa conducted research among its member
companies to quantify and understand the extent of scarce skills and critical
skills gaps in the sector. The findings showed employers in the petroleum
industry needed advanced technical skills and that existing employees needed
Reasons for the shortage of skills were lack of petroleum
industry experience, and a scarcity of qualified employment equity candidates,
especially black women.
"The critical role played by the petroleum industry
will only be sustained if a skilled, technical workforce of sufficient strength
and range is available."
Derbesy said collaboration between the industry, the
government, Sector Education and Training Authorities, Further Education and
Training colleges and universities, was essential in addressing the skills
The petroleum industry contributes 6.48% to the country's
Gross Domestic Product and employs about 100 000 people.
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