People and Skills

Session Sponsor

The People and Skills session focuses on our commitment to supporting energy jobs today and enabling people to play a key role in the diverse energy mix of the future. Themes include employment forecasts, cross-sector energy training alignment, and the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Chaired by

Scott McGinigal,
Vice President Major Projects
CNOOC International

Scott is a Chartered Process Engineer with over 25 years’ experience in Oil and Gas in the UK and Middle East. During his career he has fulfilled Leadership, Operations, Engineering and Project roles for both Operators and Service Companies. Scott joined CNOOC Nexen in 2014 and is currently Vice President – Major Projects, with responsibility for Drilling & Completions, Engineering and Projects in the UK.

In addition, Scott is a member of the OEUK Board, the OPITO Board, the OEUK NSTD Task Finish Group and the OEUK D&I Task Group.

You will hear from:

John McDonald

John is the CEO of OPITO, the global safety and skills organisation for the energy industry.

In this role, he is focused on driving the international skills agenda for the energy sector and the development of a safe and skilled workforce through the delivery of global standards and high-quality skills development, workforce development solutions, and by leading dialogue with industries and governments across the UK and Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

John established the Energy Skills Alliance in 2019, bringing together senior members of the UK and Scottish Governments, the energy industry, and industry bodies to create an integrated skills strategy for a net-zero UK energy industry.

He is also leading on the publication of an integrated People and Skills Strategy as part of the North Sea Transition Deal.

Appointed to the role in 2017, John previously held posts within OPITO as UK Managing Director and Director for International Workforce Development.

Prior to joining the business, John was a director at ACTVET, the government body charged with creating a vocational education and training system in Abu Dhabi. John was also a director for the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), leading the development of new products and services, and creating new markets in Asia and the Middle East.

An alumni of Harvard Business School, John has worked at a ministerial level in several countries on capacity-building projects in education and training.

Paul de Leeuw
Director, Energy Transition Institute
Robert Gordon University

Paul is a senior industry leader and executive with over 33 years’ experience in the global energy sector. He has worked for a wide range of companies, including Shell, Marathon Oil, Amoco, BP, Venture Production and Centrica. He is currently the Director of Robert Gordon University’s Energy Transition Institute, Chair of the National Energy Skills Accelerator, Chair of PlanSea Solutions, a Board member of the International School in Aberdeen and a Professor at Robert Gordon University (UK). Paul is an experienced non-executive director, with over 20 years of involvement in public, private and voluntary sector organisations. He is also a regular contributor to industry events and a frequent media commentator on issues and developments in the international energy sector.

John Underhill
Director for Energy Transition
Aberdeen University

John Underhill is Aberdeen University’s Interdisciplinary Director for Energy Transition, a role he took up on 1st March

He is also Academic Executive Director of the UK Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) entitled GeoNetZero (GNZ). Supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the latter is an £5Mn industry-academic collaboration between 12 Universities and 8 industry partners that is exploring the role of Geoscience for the Low Carbon Energy Transition and Challenge to meet Net Zero emission targets.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Geological Society’s Lyell Medal Silver Medal of the Geological Society’s Energy Group, the Clough Medal of the Edinburgh Geological Society, and European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE) Alfred Wegener and Distinguished Lecturer Awards and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) George C. Matson, Grover E. Murray Distinguished Educator, and Ziad Beydoun awards

He was President of the European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE) in 2011-12. John has previously worked in industry with Shell and subsequently held professorial posts at The University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt University, where he was their Chief Scientist. Whilst at Edinburgh, he undertook two sabbaticals with BP and with Norsk Hydro in Bergen.

John was a member of the UK Energy Minister’s Technology Leadership Board (TLB) and currently populates the UK Exploration Task Force (XTF) and the Scottish Government’s Science Advisory Council (SSAC).

As an interesting aside, John was a professional football referee on the FIFA circuit, which saw him officiate on European Champions League, internationals and Scottish Premier League games including those at Pittodrie, between 1994-2008.

Mavis Anagboso
Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Harbour Energy

Mavis is the Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Harbour Energy. Her career began over two decades ago with the UK Civil Service, where she worked in various Economics leadership roles to support UK Macroeconomic policy at its highest level. She subsequently progressed to Oil & Gas, working for Shell, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), and CHC Helicopters. Until recently, she managed a bespoke diversity consultancy, supporting businesses in the energy industry with their inclusion strategies. Mavis is a passionate advocate of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and frequently writes on the subject. She lives in Aberdeenshire with her family and outside work is a keen hill walker and amateur sailor.

Dr Alix Thom
Workforce Engagement and Skills Manager

Dr Alix Thom joined Oil & Gas UK (now Offshore Energies UK) in December 2011 as Employment and Skills Manager. In her current role at OEUK, Alix is responsible for facilitating industry positions on employment issues, particularly workforce engagement and diversity and inclusion. Alix is also the theme lead for the implementation of the People and Skills element of the North Sea Transition Deal, agreed earlier this year with the UK government. This includes retaining talent in the industry whilst facilitating the transition of people to other energy sectors, and ensuring jobs created are good quality jobs.

Alix is an experienced employee relations specialist with a proven track record in major and independent exploration and production companies, including BP, Cairn Energy and EnQuest, as well as Wood plc 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) , an alumna of the Advanced HR Executive Programme, Michigan University and Chair of the Oil and Gas Chaplaincy Trust. Alix lives in Aberdeen with her beloved westie called Ollie.