Offshore Wind Needs Thousands of People | UK Low Carbon Future

Offshore Wind Industry Needs Thousands of People to Build UK’s Low Carbon Future, Says Latest Skills Study

Energy & Utility Skills was recently commissioned by Aura and Green Port Hull to undertake a comprehensive skills study of the UK’s offshore wind industry.

Offshore Wind Industry Needs Thousands of People to Build UK's Low Carbon Future, Says Latest Skills Study

Aura and its partners are now launching the findings of the ‘Skills and Labour Requirements of the UK Offshore Wind Industry 2018 to 2032’ report – a national study with a focus on the Humber region.  The study, funded by the Regional Growth Fund Green Port Growth Programme and carried out by Energy & Utility Skills, is based on a review of existing and new quantitative data, as well as a qualitative input from leading offshore wind (OSW) organisations.  It sets out the extent of the workforce supply and demand requirements over the next 15 years, to 2032.

The offshore wind industry is growing rapidly and is on its way to becoming a mainstream provider of low-carbon electricity for the country, thereby helping to ensure that the UK meets its climate change targets.  In order to deliver on the ambitions that the industry has set itself, it is going to need many more skilled people to join its workforce.

Based on government and industry estimates that installed OSW capacity in the UK could be 35GW, or five-fold its existing levels, by 2032, the study’s main findings include:

  • the requirement for workers is set to increase from 10,000 today to 36,000 by 2032;
  • the OSW sector will be operating in a very tight labour market over the coming years and there will be fierce competition for talent;
  • skills shortages could become more prevalent and the industry is going to need a wide range of skills sets – from asset management, leadership, engineering and scientists through to the softer skills such as team working and problem solving;
  • the industry needs to work with the educational system now to ensure that the right skills and talents come through the system at all levels over the coming years – from schools and apprenticeships to higher education and continual professional development for those already well along in their careers;
  • many of the job opportunities will be focused on the East Coast of the UK where the wind farms are located.

Commenting on the publication of the findings, the Aura Talent & Skills Lead, John Weir said: “The publication of this Skills Study today is very timely and sets out the exciting career opportunities that the offshore wind industry presents for those interested in working for the renewable energy industry.  Whether for those of us already well established in our careers or those just considering where to invest their talents and recently acquired qualifications.  We must ensure that the talent pipeline, which starts with 14 year olds at school now, is able to provide the sector with the skilled workforce that we are going to need over the next decade or so.  We also want to be the industry of choice for women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers who want a career in an innovative and pioneering industry.”

Rob Murphy, workforce planning consultant at Energy & Utility Skills and the author of the report said: “It is clear from the data analysis and interviews with industry experts that the offshore wind industry has great potential to be both a substantial provider of low carbon energy and a significant regional employer – but there are many challenges to overcome to ensure we have a resilient workforce.  This report sets out the challenges and makes recommendations to address them.  If the true potential of the offshore wind industry is to be unlocked, a more co-ordinated approach is needed – one that brings together businesses from across the supply chain, skills providers at all levels, regional and national government and the full range of support agencies.”

The Aura director, Ben George, added: “The offshore wind industry is a fundamental part of the UK’s low-carbon future.  The IPCC report, published in early October, emphasised how little time we have to change the way we, as a society, consume energy.  The findings from this study show how crucial it is that we bring the best talent into this industry which is full of opportunities for those who want to be a part of the clean growth energy ‘ecolution’ and a sustainable future for all.”

Hugh McNeal, CEO of Renewable UK said: “As an industry, we have set ourselves some very ambitious targets which we have set out in the offshore wind Sector Deal Prospectus – A Sea of Opportunity.  Tens of thousands of new jobs will be created as offshore wind becomes the backbone of a clean, reliable and affordable energy system.”  He added, “The UK is leading the world in offshore wind, with more installed capacity than any other country.  We need to retain this position by continuing our investment in innovation and we can only do that with inspired and creative people.”

This press release has been reproduced with the permission of Aura. A copy of the original release can be found here. Photography courtesy of © Ørsted.


A summary of the report can be downloaded here.

UK Offshore Wind Skills Study Full Report.