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© 2019 by The British Chamber of Commerce in Mexico.

Skills Development in the Hydrocarbon Sector in Mexico-Findings Reports by RGU

March 2, 2017

On Tuesday 24 January 2017, the British Chamber of Commerce in Mexico hosted its second event of the year, “Skills Development Framework for the Hydrocarbon Sector in Mexico”, with guest speaker Professor Paul de Leeuw, from Robert Gordon University in the UK. Professor de Leeuw’s presentation revolved around three things:


1. Understanding the current and future context of the oil & gas industry in Mexico

2. Identifying supply & demand of relevant skillsets specific to the industry

3. Setting forth key recommendations aimed at filling any gaps in terms of labour.





Understanding the Current and Future Context of the Oil & Gas Industry in Mexico


One of the Mexican government’s initiatives to propel economic growth in future decades is for PEMEX (Mexico’s state-owned oil company) to reach production of 4.2 mb/d over the next 15 years, which will require, among other things, increasing oil output by 2 mb/d. To achieve this, President Peña Nieto successfully passed structural reforms to Mexican energy legislation in December 2013, allowing foreign direct investment into the oil & gas industry. Despite Mexico’s history as a major oil producing nation, new skillsets and technical expertise will be necessary, since Mexico’s yet untapped hydrocarbon mix is significantly different from that of the past.  Addressing this issue, Prof. de Leeuw constructed a skills development framework, road mapping how Mexico could tackle the resulting skills gap at both graduate and vocational levels.





Identifying Supply & Demand of Relevant Skillsets Specific to Mexico’s Oil & Gas Industry Requirements

The 2nd part of the presentation addressed the rigorous academic approach that de Leeuw and Robert Gordon University followed during their analysis. Prof. de Leeuw detailed each of the 6 framework stages:

1. Context
2. Education Supply & Demand
3. Job Families Classification
4. Skills Demand Projections
5. Standards and Quality Assurance
6. Recommendations.


In building this approach, inputs such as benchmark industry data and people metrics were used, in addition to considering country specific targets, and previous analysis and papers. Consequently, a base case was established, with several parallel alternative scenarios. The base case projected Mexico will need approximately 114,000 additional skilled workers (76,000 vocational & 38,000 graduate).






Prof. de Leeuw wrapped up his presentation summarising his findings and presenting a list of recommendations, specifying what he thought was necessary for Mexico to train and employ 114,000 skilled individuals between now and 2030. Some of the recommendations were:

  • Higher Education Sector: provide 1000 scholarships per year to study abroad in industry specific courses and develop capacity of Mexican institutions to offer oil & gas courses meeting professional accreditation standards.

  • Vocational Sector: develop and introduce an industry training standard framework; developing in-country capacity in polytechnic and vocational institutions to train up to 4000 students a year; introduce work-based continuing learning programmes.

  • Oil & Gas Industry Leadership: establish an executive leadership development programme for up to 100 participants per year, and create an executive exchange programme between relevant and equivalent oil & gas institutions from Mexico and the UK.

  • Overall Education System: develop and implement an integrated standards framework for Mexico’s education sector, with a single set of descriptors to provide common reference points and ensure quality assurance.

A 20-minute Q&A session followed the presentation, with Prof. de Leeuw answering as many questions as possible in the given time. One key question asked was whether the framework considered secondary and tertiary jobs as a part of the 114,000 approximate jobs, to which de Leeuw replied that it did not, which meant that the total number of jobs was even greater than the 114K.


As usual, attendees enjoyed a delightful breakfast and the opportunity to network. The British Chamber of Commerce in Mexico would like to thank Professor Paul de Leeuw and Robert Gordon University for allowing us the opportunity to listen, learn, and engage in dialogue regarding the future of skills development in the oil & gas industry in Mexico.

Should you wish to contact Professor de Leeuw, please get in touch with Laura Atkinson, Commercial Manager, British Chamber of Commerce in Mexico at laura.atkinson@britishbusiness.mx .


We hope you enjoyed the event and wish to see you at future ones!

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