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Business & Economy

NOF boss praises energy sector’s resilience – and calls for skills boost to aid future

The boss of an energy sector business development organisation has backed the industry to ride through the coronavirus crisis and set itself for future success.

George Rafferty, NOF chief executive, said the sector will “come through this particular difficulty, perhaps even stronger” by calling on previous experience of challenging periods to galvanise operations.

Saluting the collaborative spirit that exists among North East firms, he also called for Government backing to support the repatriation of skills and expertise to ensure the sector’s long-term success.

“NOF members and the energy sector supply chain are very resilient,” said George.

“We have had to deal with many dips in cyclical industries, particularly in oil and gas.

“Each time, the supply chain has come through it and they will during this particular difficultly, perhaps even stronger,” said George.

“As always it is in times like this that the innovation and collaboration of the supply chain shines through.  It is inevitable that capacity levels will be affected by employees self-isolating, or sadly contracting the virus.

“As a result, we are seeing members engaging to support each other and combine their capacity to deliver projects.”

However, while backing the will and resourcefulness of companies and their staff, George said the sector can be further strengthened by the return of skilled workers.

He added: “What this crisis has also shown is the need to increase the repatriation of capabilities to this country.

“Putting resilience above speed and cost and reducing the reliance on markets such as China will help companies in both the service and manufacturing areas of the supply chain.

“There is a strong case for encouraging the Government to support the repatriation of those skills and expertise and make the supply chain, and the whole economy, much more resilient and prosperous.”