Figures from RenewableUK show the global market for offshore wind grew 16% in the last 12 months but industry leaders want the workforce to become much more inclusive and diverse
Figures from RenewableUK show the global market for offshore wind grew 16% in the last 12 months but industry leaders want the workforce to become much more inclusive and diverse.
RenewableUK deputy chief executive Emma Pinchbeck said the growth figures were tremendous news, but along with other speakers at the opening session of Global Offshore Wind 2019 said the industry needs to do a lot more to ensure that women have equal opportunities in the industry.
The only woman in a panel composed otherwise entirely of men, she noted that most of those in the audience at the opening session were also men.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive said she would like to see the industry composed of 30% women by 2030, a sentiment that other panel members wholeheartedly agreed with. She said the industry “needs to attract the right talent” and that it would lose out if it did not make the industry much more accessible to women.
Iberdrola global offshore business managing director Jonathan Cole went further. He said the issue was not so much about gender and women as about inclusiveness as a whole. There are too few women and too few people from non-white and ethnically diverse backgrounds in the industry he said. The LGBTQ community was also hugely under-represented said Mr Cole.
A question from the audience highlighted the case of a recent job advert for a turbine technician that attracted 130 possible candidates – all of whom were men. “How can we make the industry more attractive to women?” the questioner asked.
The panel agreed that women and other less well represented groups need to see a potential career path in offshore wind, at all levels in the industry. MHI Vestas Offshore Wind chief executive Philippe Kavafyan said the industry “needs role models at every level.”
Innogy director of offshore wind Richard Sandford said engineering could be an equally exciting career for women as men. ORE Catapult director of test and evaluation Tony Quinn said the industry needed to target young people of college age and highlighted the role of activists such as Greta Thunberg as an example of young people’s interest in climate issues.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive agreed, and said young people were impatient to see change, and the industry should draw on that desire for change, a sentiment the panel and audience agreed with.