The Offshore Wind Industry Council in the UK has unveiled plans for the industry to create job opportunities for thousands of new apprentices and recruit more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees by 2030
The industry is pledging to employ at least 3,000 apprentices between now and the end of the decade. They will work in a wide variety of jobs from turbine technicians and maintenance engineers to roles in management and finance.
As previously highlighted by OWJ, the sector also aims to lead the energy sector in BAME representation, setting a target of 9% of workforce made up of people from BAME groups and a stretch target of 12% by 2030. This compares to current BAME representation of 5% in the workforce of the energy sector overall.
The new apprentice and diversity targets were due to be announced at an event at the Houses of Parliament on 4 March 2020, attended by the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng.
Mr Kwarteng said, “The great success of offshore wind in the UK shows what can happen when government and industry work hand-in-hand.
“One year on from the sector deal, and in this Year of Climate Action, it is great to see these new targets for minority ethnic workers and apprentices to make sure the opportunities provided by new green industries are shared far and wide.”
At the same event, the support given by offshore wind companies to the Armed Forces Covenant will be highlighted – this commits them to supporting former military personnel who have transferable skills to work in the sector.
The announcements come on the first anniversary of the landmark Offshore Wind Sector Deal, agreed by the industry and government, to ensure the rapid expansion of the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector continues in the decades ahead.
Last year, the government committed to at least 30 GW of offshore wind installed by 2030 (up from 8.5 GW currently), which will provide more than one-third of the UK’s electricity. This would enable the offshore wind industry to deliver £48Bn (US$61Bn) of investment in UK infrastructure, and employ 27,000 people by the end of the decade.
Since then, the government has raised its ambition to 40 GW, recognising the pivotal role this technology will play in decarbonising the UK’s electricity system.
During the first year of the Sector Deal, the industry has announced initiatives to bring more UK supply chain companies into the industry, expand its highly skilled workforce, build up centres of expertise in coastal communities and develop cutting-edge technology (see Notes below for more details).
OWIC industry chair and vice president UK offshore at Ørsted Benj Sykes said, “In the first year of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal we have made great progress on delivering our actions, with a host of new initiatives announced throughout the last 12 months to boost jobs, develop innovative new technology and increase the number of UK companies joining the offshore wind supply chain.
“We are building the clean energy system of the future which will keep British homes, offices and factories powered up at the lowest cost in the decades ahead, attracting billions in investment and creating export opportunities for UK companies worldwide. And we are playing a central role in helping the government to reach net zero emissions as fast as possible”.
The Sector Deal work on people and skills is being led by the Investment in Talent Group, set up as a result of the Sector Deal to increase the number of skilled people working in the sector and to promote diversity.
As well as leading on implementing these new targets, the Investment in Talent Group will also help the industry achieve its aim to double the proportion of women working in offshore wind to one-third by 2030.
The Group is overseen by RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal, who said offshore wind “needs the most talented people from every part of society… especially in coastal communities, where economic regeneration is needed most.”