Search 3t

Supporting the Pipeline of Future Talent: Offshore Wind

Fostering connections, discussions, and sharing industry knowledge, All-Energy Glasgow is a significant date on the events calendar, ensuring that all those who have a role to play in renewable and low carbon energy are aligned with wider industry goals, government ambitions, and independent regulations. 

‘Engineering a Net Zero Future’, this year’s All-Energy event theme, examines the role of collaboration, innovation, and technology in engineering “an integrated net zero energy future”. As the number one training provider to the UK Energy Sector and the Global Offshore Wind market, at 3t, we have as crucial a role to play in the future of energy security as any other within the supply chain.

Although our role isn’t to develop low carbon technologies or implement industry policies, instead, our task is to support the generation of workers navigating the changing energy landscape who will be responsible for the UK’s decarbonisation efforts, particularly within renewables and offshore wind. 

Following All-Energy 2023, the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) released its Offshore Wind Skills Intelligence Report, highlighting the size of the task at hand. The report pointed to the 70,000 new entrants that the Offshore Wind Industry needs to attract by 2030 to build and connect the offshore wind farms that will play a vital role in decarbonising Britain.  

As training providers, we need to work with operators, education institutions, and governing bodies to ensure we are doing everything we can to support the required workforce and deliver on the demand for energy transition projects. 

Roadblocks & Challenges  

One of the fastest-growing industries in the world, the skills shortage specific to the offshore wind industry has been heavily reported, particularly the lack of experienced technicians currently available to futureproof the industry.   

Despite the conversation and headlines surrounding skills shortages, the reality is that there is no shortage of people looking to kickstart their careers in offshore wind, many of whom do have the relevant skills. Learning and development opportunities, the ability to travel, and a promising future for the industry offer an enticing picture for new entrants. However, the challenges and roadblocks facing the industry can often be internal. 

Throughout the industry and across the supply chain, limits are set on the percentage balance between experienced personnel and potential new starts. So, although 100 technicians may be required, the challenge is that, in many cases, only 10% of these will be allowed to be new to the industry. Naturally, this dramatically reduces the available talent pool for what is an industry that is still somewhat in its infancy compared to legacy energy sectors such as Oil & Gas. With fewer people available to recruit, there are often a lot of the same individuals moving between projects and companies. The result is an unsustainable approach to talent retention and a short-term view of the industry’s workforce. 

Plenty of challenges exist external to the industry as well. We aren’t in a position to move freely on our independent intuition. We need the support and collaboration with the powers that be, whether government or independent regulators. A collaborative approach at every level and between all key stakeholders is necessary to align the messaging, goals, and actionable methods that will inspire the next generation of industry talent to drive innovation and growth. 

To meet the demand of potential projects over the next 5, 10, and 15 years, we need to guarantee we have the pipeline of talent available to deliver on the promising potential of offshore wind. 

Supporting Emerging Talent 

At 3t, we have implemented several initiatives that have proven successful in engaging with emerging talent whilst widening the talent pool for recruitment at the same time.  

 A crucial demographic we support is Ex-Forces, specifically through our Military to Wind Programme. As the training delivery partner of choice for the Armed Forces, we have continuously shown our commitment to supporting personnel transfer their skills and experience to the global energy industry.  

We have led the way in training Ex-Forces personnel since the inception of the Military to Wind Programme over two years ago. The first training provider to be approved to deliver wind industry training utilising ELCAS credits, we have used our facilities, expertise, and approach to training to support over 200 Ex-Forces personnel prepare for potential wind careers. 

The potential of talent within the Ex-Forces community is monumental. This is a demographic that has the highly favourable personality traits needed to support the offshore wind sector. The skills and experience they have picked up in their time in the Armed Forces are highly adaptable to a new career in mind given they are used to working in remote environments as part of small, close-knit teams, and a background of being resourceful with only the equipment they have at their side to utilise.   

We are incredibly proud of the progress made thanks to our Military to Wind Programme. We provide all the mandatory certifications along with the appropriate knowledge and understanding to ensure delegates have everything they need to be safe, successful, and competent in their future wind careers. 

Alongside our support of the Ex-Forces community, we have shown our support to ensure that the offshore wind industry is a diverse and inclusive workforce. Specifically, addressing the lack of women in the industry.   

Right now, women in wind account for just 5% of the offshore workforce. Balance and fresh perspectives are vital for sustainable growth in any industry, especially one evolving in the way offshore wind is.   

Too many negative stereotypes and harmful perceptions remain that put women off considering a career offshore, so it’s about how we can help break down those perceptions and push through barriers. Thankfully, because offshore wind is still in its early stages compared to legacy sectors where harmful perceptions are more deeply ingrained, we have plenty of opportunities to stop these stereotypes from becoming rooted in offshore wind.   

To tackle issues as significant as these though, collaboration is vital to make widespread systemic change. Collaborating with Orsted, we launched the ‘Women into Wind’ initiative to address the lack of representation and increase the % of women who make up the offshore wind workforce. In this collaboration with one of the largest wind developers in the world, we have a huge platform to make a difference – with early indications suggesting that’s exactly what we will do.  

Offering twelve women the opportunity to kickstart their offshore wind careers, we provided full GWO-approved training to the chosen cohort between February and March. Following completion of the tradition, Orsted utilised its connections with its supply chain companies to a series of interviews and employment opportunities for our twelve candidates.   

The success of our Military to Wind Programme and Women into Wind initiative has laid the foundation for more to come. We can’t wait to share what’s next.