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21 Mar 2019 / News

Ian Watson - Successful Transition Training Fund Applicant


When the downturn in the oil and gas sector began to bite, Ian Watson-Ross found his options for securing work were quickly beginning to diminish.

The father-of-two from Crieff in Perthshire had 14 years’ experience as a health and safety consultant in the sector when the work dried up.

With fewer posts available and a greater number of people chasing them, employers were increasingly looking for more qualifications, leading the 43-year-old to consider ways improving of his own CV.

After identifying a postgraduate course that could boost his employment chances, Ian applied to the Transition Training Fund for support.

“When the downturn began in the oil and gas industry, companies started asking for degree level candidates in health and safety as there was a large amount of people looking for work,” Ian said.

“They could set the bar higher and ask for the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, which I didn’t have.”

The Transition Training Fund is administered on behalf of the Scottish Government by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Ian initially applied to the fund while still in work and was turned down, but after re-applying he worked with a Transition Training Fund adviser at SDS to ensure his application met the requirements.

“It’s a scary thing being made redundant, and the oil and gas sector is an ageing industry. If re-training can help people like me stay in the sector then it helps keep a lot of experience which might otherwise be lost.”

“I spent a bit of time with the adviser on the application, and eventually it was approved,” he said.


Daunting prospect

Ian admits that the prospect of returning to education following 14 years in the industry, plus a decade before that in the military, was a daunting one.

“I didn’t know what to expect as I had been out the education system for such a long time,” he said.

“I doubted whether I would be able to go back to that level of study.

“Speaking with the university put me at ease as they thought I’d be fine with it due to everything I’d done, and I was fine with it.

“It took all my experience from the oil and gas industry and from the military, along with my education, and it tied it all together into a qualification that’s recognised around the world. I actually got a Distinction.”

The qualification provided the missing link on Ian’s CV. After a short stint working in Angola, he secured a post in Kuwait before his studies had even finished.

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To apply you only need your National Insurance number and to complete a simple online form. If at any stage you have a question you can speak to a SDS (Skills Development Scotland) advisor on 0808 100 1855.

Apply online today;




The deadline for applications is 31/03/2019, or when the fund is exhausted - so don't delay.



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