SNP and Green ministers have been accused of “a betrayal of Scotland’s offshore workers” after confirming further delays to an “urgently needed and common-sense solution” for helping people move from the oil and gas sector into renewables.

Offshore energy trade unions and environmental campaigners have criticised the failure to deliver the offshore training passport, with the scheme now kicked into next year.

The standards body for oil and gas, the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO), and its renewable equivalent, the Global Wind Organisation (GWO), alongside the International Marine Contractors Association, announced they would work together to identify and resolve training duplication in March 2022.

OPITO committed to setting up a digital training passport in collaboration with the other relevant bodies by the third quarter of 2023, but a delay until the end of the year was announced by Minister for Green Skills, Lorna Slater in May 2023.

But campaigners have criticised ministers for further delaying the passport the skills passport as 2023 draws to a close.

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The Scottish Government has now confirmed the timeframe for rolling out the skills passport has now been further delayed until March 2024.

Trade unions and campaigners have said that the lack of progress to align training standards is putting significant financial and time pressure on offshore workers and acting as a major barrier to opening up opportunities in renewables to the existing skilled and experienced offshore energy workforce.

A survey carried out by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform, and Greenpeace in 2021 found that offshore workers were paying an average of £1,800 every year on training costs with 94% of the respondents saying they supported an offshore training passport.

The Scottish Government provided £5m to OPITO for the delivery of the offshore training passport in the first round of awards from the just transition fund for the North East and Moray.

STUC general secretary, Roz Foyer, said: “After promising the passport would be rolled out in 2023, offshore trade unions warned that progress would only be achieved if the energy industry got behind the project across the oil and gas, wind, maritime and other offshore sectors.

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“Clearly, they have not managed to achieve this, and it is offshore workers who will continue to pay the price for this delay.

“All parties must step up to the plate and reach an agreement on this urgently needed and common-sense solution for the offshore sector.

“First and foremost, a new timetable for the rollout of the passport must be set out to give certainty to the offshore workforce who currently shoulder the burden of training and transition offshore.”

Scottish Labour North East MSP, Mercedes Villalba, who has long-campaigned for the training passport, branded the delays “a betrayal of Scotland’s offshore workers”.

She added: “We need a real plan to protect and create jobs as we transition to net zero, but the SNP-Green Government keep kicking the can down the line.

“Offshore training passports can provide certainty and opportunities for off-shore workers, as well as ensuring their skills and experience help us reach net zero.

“Labour will stand up for off-shore workers by unlocking Scotland’s potential as a world leader in clean energy – creating jobs, cutting bills and delivering energy security.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s just transition campaigner, Rosie Hampton, said: “Time and again offshore workers have been clear that this barrier to transition must be urgently removed.

“After getting £5 million of public money, the minister needs to light a fire under these training companies to get this process moving.

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“This saga is yet another example of why we need much stronger public control of our energy transition, putting the power back in workers and communities’ hands. Private interests cannot be allowed to continue to disrupt and delay just transition planning in the way that they have with this much-needed passport.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We remain committed to the 10 year just transition fund programme and existing projects, including funding the development of an offshore energy skills passport.

“Delivery of the passport is overseen by a cross-industry group and is currently undertaking mapping of standards across key sectors, including in relation to the basic safety and survival of offshore workers.

“To ensure sufficient time for completion and to maximise stakeholder engagement on what must be an industry-led solution the delivery of the passport has been extended to March 2024.”