Skills for the Energy Transition: Panel Discussion

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London SPE Net Zero Programme

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Please join our distinguished panellists from academia and industry for an important debate on:

  • What skills are needed for the energy transition and what energy industry employers will be looking for going forward
  • How Universities and other educators are adapting their offering and what opportunities are available for existing O&G workers to upskill
  • How the O&G industry can continue to attract talent in order to play it's part in Net Zero and a sustainable future.


Martin Blunt: Professor & Chair of Petroleum Engineering, Imperial College London

Jonathan Redfern: Professor of Petroleum Geoscience, University of Manchester & Energy Transition CMT

Carl Hickson: Head of Talent Projects & Education, bp

Alix Thom: Skills and Employment Manager, OGUK


Martin Blunt is professor of flow in porous media in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London. He is also director of MSc programmes in the department. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Before joining Imperial in 1999 he was on the faculty of Petroleum Engineering at Stanford University. He has also worked as a reservoir engineer for BP. He holds MA and PhD degrees in physics from Cambridge University.

Jonathan Redfern has over 35 years’ experience in industry and academia. He is Chair of Petroleum Geoscience at the University of Manchester, one of the largest energy geoscience and engineering research and teaching groups in the UK, and Director of the North Africa Research Group. Jonathan began his career in the oil industry in 1984, working as a geologist for Fina UK and Amerada Hess, both in the UK and globally. In 2003 he moved to the University of Manchester, to develop their petroleum geoscience research and teaching programmes. He also consults and runs training courses for leading oil companies. In 2020 he co-founded the Energy Transition Centre for Master Training, a UK initiative to foster collaboration among academia, industry and government to tackle the urgent training challenge in geoscience and engineering

Carl Hickson is bp’s Head of Talent Projects of Education. In this role, he leads bp’s external work and partnerships focused on strengthening the external Education & Employability ecosystem. This work supports bp’s sustainability frame, and is ultimately in service of creating a pipeline of talent that is both equipped for the energy system of the future and that can help the world get to net zero. As part of bp’s Talent leadership team, Carl also plays an integration role across cross-functional activity in Talent. Prior to joining bp Carl worked for Dalberg, an impact-oriented consulting firm, where he advised a range of international development clients across sub-Saharan Africa on topics of job creation, skilling, and economic development. He also worked for Accenture Strategy, where he delivered a range of operating model / reorganization projects as part of the firm’s Talent & Organization practice, including in the energy and utilities sectors. Carl holds a First-Class MA (Hons) in International Relations from the University of St Andrews, where he featured on the Dean’s List.

Dr Alix Thom joined OGUK in December 2011 as Employment and Skills Issues Manager. In her current role at OGUK, Alix is responsible for facilitating the development of an industry-wide workforce engagement strategy including both on and offshore workers, and trade union liaison. Alix also covers any skills challenges the UK oil and gas sector faces which involves both efforts to retain talent in the industry but also support those who are displaced as well as playing a key role on the Steering Group of the Oil and Gas Technician Apprenticeship Programme. In addition, Alix formulates policy on other employment issues such as immigration, working time and other areas of employment law. Alix is an experienced employee relations specialist with a proven track record in major and independent exploration and production companies, including BP and Cairn Energy as well as Wood Group and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). A Fellow of the CIPD (awarded the Distinguished Badge of Merit), Alix is also a member of the Executive Board of the IPA (Involvement and Participation Association) and an Alumni of the Advanced HR Executive Programme, Michigan University. Alix lives in Aberdeen with her two children and beloved westie called Ollie.

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Organiser of Skills for the Energy Transition: Panel Discussion

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