The UK offshore wind industry has pledged to employ at least 3,000 apprentices between now and the end of the decade, the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) said.
They will work in a wide variety of jobs from turbine technicians and maintenance engineers to roles in management and finance, OWIC said.
The sector also aims to lead the energy sector in black, Asian and minority ethnic (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 UK Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi 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’s 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 announcement comes on the first anniversary of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal through which the UK government committed to at least 30GW of offshore wind installed by 2030 which will provide more than one-third of the UK’s electricity.
This would enable the offshore wind industry to deliver GBP 48 billion 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 40GW.
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.
“In the first year of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal we’ve made great progress on delivering our actions, with a host of new initiatives announced throughout the last twelve months to boost jobs, develop innovative new technology and increase the number of UK companies joining the offshore wind supply chain,” the Industry Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Vice President UK Offshore at Ørsted, Benj Sykes, said.
“We’re 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’re 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 lead 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 CEO Hugh McNeal, who said: “Offshore wind needs the most talented people from every part of society to fill the thousands of highly-skilled jobs we’re creating around the UK as a key part of the Sector Deal, especially in coastal communities, where economic regeneration is needed most.”