North Sea-focused oil and gas firms are looking beyond their short-term recruitment needs by launching graduate recruitment programs. TAQA Bratani, the UK-focused subsidiary of Abu Dhabi state-owned energy firm TAQA, plans to launch a graduate program within two years while Norwegian technical services firm Det Norske Veritas (DNV) announced Monday that it has just welcome 14 graduates onto a new graduate program that will see them gain experience across its UK organization over the next couple of years.

In a telephone interview this week with Rigzone TAQA Recruitment Business Partner David Priestley explained that the firm is looking to begin a formal graduate development program, which will see the company take on at least six people every year, in 2014.

“We anticipate the first intake into the program in 2014, which means going to the [graduate] Milk Round in 2013. At the moment we have got a couple of [new] graduates in the business right now, and we are potentially looking at one or two informal graduates in 2013 who will work with us in developing a more structured graduate development program,” he said.

Before getting to that stage TAQA has a lot of work to do in preparing its graduate program, added Priestley. This will involve talking to professional bodies, such as the UK’s engineering bodies, to see how the program would be needed to be designed to help graduates achieve goals such as reaching Chartered Engineer status, although TAQA hopes to take on graduates across a range of disciplines.

“It will definitely involve the geosciences, as well as the traditional subservice disciplines, such as petroleum and reservoir engineering. There will also be drilling opportunities and also opportunities across the surface disciplines as well: instruments, mechanical, electrical, facilities…” said Priestley, who said the firm will be looking at graduates from Aberdeen-based universities as well as higher education institutions with a strong focus on subjects like petroleum engineering, such as Manchester University and Imperial College London.

TAQA’s immediate recruitment needs for its North Sea activities are at the forefront of its plans in the short term – with the firm planning to add 100 experienced oil and gas professionals to its approximately 600 UK staff during the next year. But Priestley pointed out that the launch of a graduate program is tied to the firm’s long-term commitment to the North Sea, as demonstrated by its recent $1.3 billion deal with BP to acquire a group of oil and gas fields in the region along with its participation in the UK’s 27th Offshore Licensing Round.

“The graduate program is about our commitment, firstly to the North Sea and, secondly, to the offshore oil and gas industry,” he said.

DNV, which operates from several locations around the UK including the offshore center Aberdeen, provides risk management and technical services to the oil and gas industry, among other sectors. The firm announced Monday the launch of a graduate development program that is intended to give graduates an insight into the broad range of areas in which DNV operates over their first two years of employment via four six-month assignments. As well as taking on 14 graduates this year, the firm is planning on a similar intake in 2013.