In late 2020, The UK Government announced its ten-point plan for the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, citing its commitment and action plan that would put the country in prime position to cement itself as a global leader in green energy, and achieve the UK’s net-zero ambitions.
The Government has pledged £12billion to facilitate the revolution, kick-starting industry activity across the UK, and although green energy has been a component of the energy grid for some time, it is now taking centre stage to become our primary resource for energy production.
Welcome news for the renewable energy industry, however significant thought and action will be needed to truly facilitate such ambitious plans, particularly around the subject of skilled manpower.
From new technologies to the ever-growing need for skilled manpower, the green industries require full support to achieve net-zero plans, the aim is to create 250,000 jobs, a major economic boost after the uncertainty a global pandemic has delivered, but this employment figure can only be achieved with the right talent in place.
With offshore wind capacity expected to quadruple, it is estimated that over 60,000 jobs will be needed in this sector alone, to support the burgeoning skills demand the renewable energy industries will require.
The UK is well equipped to deliver on renewables, particularly wind, our natural geography, shorelines and seas provide many opportunities to capitalise on wind farm development.
Globally, renewable energy companies are looking to the UK for expertise in offshore wind technologies, an exciting prospect that is likely to see greater investment benefits across the country.
Projects like the North East’s Dogger Bank is set to be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, this is monumental news for the region and firmly puts the North on the map as a serious contender for long term renewables investment.
Offshore wind will be an integral competent of the UK’s net-zero ambitions, this major project has brought and continues to bring, significant investment from outside the UK, during a challenging economic period.
The renewables job market is predicted to grow at an astonishing rate, however, consideration and alignment of the UK’s supply chain is integral across industries to be able to deliver, and must be fully supported by Government initiatives, and the short and long term investment plans.
It is now essential that both industry and Government work together to ensure a solid skills matrix is in place to deliver knowledgeable, skilled expertise for the renewable energy market.
As an industry that is supported by technological advancement, now is the time to be up-skilling, informing and educating younger generations to consider a green career, curriculums must match industry requirements, training centres must work with industry to create qualifications that deliver both the practical know-how and knowledge required to work in green industries.
The renewable skills gap will only grow without the talent in place to facilitate projects, and with the global race of countries vying to become a champion in renewable energy, action to ensure skilled professionals are ‘job-ready’ is vital.
The green energy industries are also still relatively new to the energy sector, transferable skills are recognised from the traditional energy industry, oil and gas, with many in this profession choosing to transition and re-train in renewables. This move, however, will only fill some of the announced quota and the need to engage and interest a new wave of talent begins now.