People & Skills

PEOPLE & SKILLS

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NEW REPORT PUBLISHED & SURVEY NOW LIVE

Our new research shows that the number of people working in direct and indirect jobs in the UK's world-leading offshore wind industry is set to rise significantly, from 26,000 currently to over 69,800 by 2026.

Most of the jobs will be created in parts of the country which urgently need levelling up, including the north east of England, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Anglia and Scotland.

The sector is working to ensure that, as offshore wind scales up, it is supported by a workforce of the right people, in the right place and at the right time. The rate of growth in the sector needs to be accompanied by upskilling of existing employees, bringing people in from other sectors and ensuring a longer-term pathway through education and academia. The sector is committed to becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive. A strategy advisory board, the Investment in Talent Group, has been established comprising senior representatives from across the sector, Government, and the devolved administrations to drive delivery. Three working groups support the Group including: Diversity, Military and Apprenticeships. Within the Group and working groups, key areas of work include:

Employment Data

The industry developed a workforce and skills model in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) to track and report on workforce data. The latest research shows that the number of people working in direct and indirect jobs in the UK’s offshore wind industry will rise significantly from 26,000 today to over 69,800 by 2026. Most of the jobs will be created in parts of the country which urgently need levelling up, including the north-east of England, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Anglia and Scotland. This will be supported by over £60.8bn of private sector investment over the next five years. The industry is currently surveying companies for the next instalment of data.

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“Clarity over timing, scale and location of the UK pipeline enables the industry to focus on developing a diverse and inclusive culture which attracts and supports people from the whole of society. It means ensuring that we can support movement through the Just Transition, encouraging everyone from those in their first careers to career changers to make this the industry of their preferred choice.”

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Melanie Onn
Workstream Sponsor, RenewableUK

Diversity

The industry has committed to employing 33% women in offshore wind by 2030 (up from 18% in 2020) with an ambition to reach 40% and 9% BAME employees in offshore wind by 2030 (up from c.5%) with an ambition to reach 12%. The Diversity Working Group has been set up to deliver these ambitions. In partnership with The Equal Group, the Investment in Talent Group have created a best practice guide to help businesses and companies ensure their workplaces are accessible and attractive to those currently under-represented in the sector, and a charter for supporting women in the industry. It is already showing improvements in the number of women being employed, including an increase in the proportion of women on apprenticeships. More recently the working group has started to look at what needs to be done to improve diversity in terms of visible and invisible disabilities and to support social mobility.

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Apprenticeships

The Apprenticeship Working Group has set a target for 2.5% of the employed offshore wind workforce to be from/ on apprenticeship schemes by 2030 (equating to roughly 3000 apprentices in the sector). In 2020 there were approximately 1.8% apprentices in the workforce. The working group is looking at ways to improve the numbers in the industry including a potential offshore wind industry apprenticeship programme. A review of how apprenticeships are delivered within industry is currently underway with the Apprenticeship Working Group.  

a girl being taugh engineering by a man in a white coat

Transition into the industry

As the anticipated growth in the industry is likely to be rapid in the near term, it is important to support the movement of people into the industry from other sectors, particularly the fossil fuel-based sectors. The Investment in Talent Group includes a Just Transition champion to ensure a focus on this area. In addition, it is beginning to look at how best to support employees from the oil and gas industry who have lost or at risk of losing their jobs. 

Offshore Access Pathway

The sector will deliver an improved Offshore Access Pathway, facilitating greater job-mobility between offshore industries. A joint statement was agreed by key cross sector stakeholders committing signatories to activity work in collaboration towards ever greater synergy of good working practice and mutual recognition of standards. A Memorandum of Understanding is currently being prepared to commit and provide the framework for the Offshore Wind, Oil and Gas, and Maritime contracting sectors to collaborative working on synergy analysis for the alignment, as far as possible, of training standards. An access portal will also be launch in 2021 to provide clear information on training requirements. 

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Military

There are a growing number of veterans in roles across the industry and the newly established Military Working Group is looking at how best to support the transition for former military personnel identifying the challenges service leavers face when trying to find employment in the offshore wind industry, and develop mechanisms and initiatives that aim to address them;  helping the industry understand the benefits veterans can bring to the offshore wind industry and offer easily accessible advice and guidance to service leavers to educate on the opportunities that exist within the industry. A LinkedIn group has been established to develop a network of ex-military in the industry with the primary aims of providing informal mentoring for serving, service-leavers and veterans that are considering a career in offshore wind, supporting newcomers into the industry, and then helping veterans stay in the industry by facilitating access to opportunities. 

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Celia Anderson, People & Skills Director, RenewableUK