A technician on top of an offshore wind turbine

GWO, RenewableUK Team Up to Fast-Track Oil & Gas Workers’ Switch to Offshore Wind

Global Wind Organisation (GWO) and RenewableUK are launching a new programme to support the transition of skilled workers from sectors such as oil & gas into renewables.

Illustration; Photo: 3sun Group (archive)

In April 2021, the two organisations will launch GWO Safety Training Access Programme, which will allow workers from other sectors to fast-track onto GWO’s refresher courses if they have already undergone verifiable training in their previous work, since the programme recognizes complementary skills and knowledge in the fields of basic safety.

“We’re going to see a huge expansion in offshore wind over the course of this decade, quadrupling our current capacity by 2030. That means we’ll need a massive influx of highly-skilled UK workers to build vital new energy infrastructure”, said Melanie Onn, RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive.

“Former oil and gas workers offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field. This new programme will ensure the skills they already have are fully recognised and that we supplement the training they’ve already undergone with a new level of specialist understanding on how to work safely on offshore and onshore wind farms”, Melanie Onn said.

Until the Access Programme is launched next year, GWO will be reviewing other training standards to compare them to GWO courses and see if any other skills are transferable into the wind energy sector.

“The oil and gas basic safety training standard BOSIET is only 15% comparable to GWO’s basic safety training. But there’s such a huge demand for skilled people to make the switch and it’s their experience as engineers and electricians we want”, said Jakob Lau Holst, CEO of Global Wind Organisation. “Safety training is a vital passport to working in the renewable energy sector so we’re launching the Access Programme to give that little bit more assistance. Before, the only pre-requisite to being allowed onto a refresher course, was an existing GWO record. This gives people another potential way in”.

Once the Access Programme is implemented, workers will be able to show a valid training certificate from another course to a GWO training provider and be fast-tracked onto the relevant GWO refresher course.

In October, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the increase of the government’s previous offshore wind target for 2030 from 30 GW to 40 GW, and said that offshore wind would produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030.

To achieve this, the government has also made GBP 160 million (around EUR 177 million) available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across the country. This investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs created and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories, and the supply chains, according to the UK government.