With the cost of living crisis and rising fuel costs, growing the renewable energy sector in the UK is a key component of the country’s long-term energy security. With that in mind, the sector is looking toward the future and planning for growth. However, in order to grow the sector needs the right skills in order to grow. This was highlighted by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) in its recent Skills Intelligence report. The report highlights the sector currently supports 31,082 jobs (up 16% on 2020 figures), with this number predicted to increase to almost 100,000 by 2030.
Given the current tight labour market, it is essential that companies operating in the sector plan ahead to meet future demand. This requires a multifaceted approach addressing both skills gaps in the local economy, shortages of individuals with the requisite skills to fill the predicted number of future vacancies, as well as the overall shortage of people to fill the roles. Retraining and upskilling the current workforce alone will not suffice and therefore organisations need to be considering education, training and what support our immigration system can provide the industry in the short and long term.
We will be looking at how businesses can deal with these skills and labour shortages in renewable energy as part of our upcoming Scottish Highland Renewable Energy Conference (SHREC) 2022. We will be joined by Kenneth Boyd, Convener of the Renewable Energy Technologies MSc at University of the Highlands and Islands for a discussion around skills shortages, upskilling the workforce of the future and filling shortage occupations in the interim.
You can find out more information about SHREC, and sign up here.