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Talent & Upskilling: Powering Offshore Wind

Ahead of Offshore Wind North East, Head of Renewable Skills Charlie Guthrie breaks down what’s needed to deliver on the promise of the offshore wind sector and the role of 3t Training Services.

The need for talent in the offshore wind sector is at the forefront of many industry leaders’ minds, and for good reason.   

With the UK Government setting ambitions for the country’s offshore wind industry to deliver up to 50GW by 2030 and 5GW of floating offshore wind by 2035, the next couple of years will be crucial to maintaining these expectations. Currently, there is 13.66GW of connected offshore wind energy today so whilst there is a big task ahead, it’s all still achievable – and the north east of England has a big role to play. With 4,300 people currently employed in offshore wind in the region and 80% of all UK windfarms accessible within 24 hours from local ports, the north east is further establishing itself as a global green industry leader – and at 3t, we are thrilled to be able to support that.  

Making progress in recent memory, operators and organisations within the region need to keep up the encouraging momentum. However, there is still plenty of support and growth required to accelerate the transition, both internal and external. The main challenge that lies ahead is the need for new talent to provide a welcome boost to the industry. Earlier this year, the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) reported that the offshore wind industry requires almost 70,000 additional jobs between now and 2030 with the forecast for roles required exceeding 100,000 for the first time across the supply chain. Crucial to securing further expansions, roles in areas such as engineers and turbine technicians are critical to fill.   

Although lofty figures, we have to believe that through collaboration, ongoing support, a new approach to attracting and retaining talent, and an appropriate strategy for upskilling and transitioning, we will be able to deliver on the promise of the UK’s offshore wind potential.   

At 3t, through our training services and the immersive digital solutions we provide, we are determined to play our role in the journey ahead by training the workforce of the future, providing the skills, knowledge, confidence, and qualifications to kickstart their renewable energy careers. As the number one provider to the global offshore wind market and to the UK energy industry, our range of world-class industry-accredited courses have been designed to support delegates as they enter the renewables sector.   

Currently the leading provider of training to wind projects within the north east, among the wind farms that we have directly supported, we have been involved with Dogger Bank, Sofia, and NNG. In the Teesside region particularly, we have proven our commitment with recent investment in a brand-new training facility which features state-of-the-art facilities including a 24-foot-high training tower and climbing and rescue platforms that mirror the working environment of a wind turbine. Our work within the Tees Valley region is allowing us to support the local workforce and create new career opportunities within the wind industry.  

This is reflected throughout the rest of the country, where one in five wind technicians has been trained by 3t. This direct involvement and collaboration with operators within the sector is a testament to the solutions we provide, including our full suite of GWO-approved courses, and our Green Skills Bootcamp initiative which has made a fantastic impact on getting more delegates interested and involved within the offshore wind industry. As part of the Government’s lifetime skills guarantee, our Green Skills Bootcamp provides individuals living within the north east to access funding for training that covers a range of engaging practical activities, resulting in new employment opportunities at the end of the programme. Our work with employers to help get delegates into jobs, both in the north east and across the country, helps to inspire young people to take the chance of a career in wind by educating them on the prospects they can face once completing their training and the progression they have access to.  

The support we provide, whether that’s through the Green Skills Bootcamp or the full portfolio of our training solutions and opportunities, have all been developed to address the industry’s need for a new approach to career development that will support a transition into wind. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced individual with an extensive career behind you or someone looking for their first role in energy, we aim to tailor our support to unlock your potential. At the speed at which the offshore wind sector is developing, we are here to help future-proof operations by offering innovative ways to deliver training to help seamlessly take the learning from the classroom into the real working environment.   

I’m really proud of the role 3t has played in futureproofing the workforce. My role in particular is to help organisations find solutions, whether that be how to ensure they’re training compliance, resourcing a project, or consolidating their supply chains to a single training coordinator. I’ll be at OWNE talking to companies about the challenges with skills gaps and how we might be able to find something that helps them to work safer, smarter and more efficiently. If you want to hear my further thoughts on the subject, come along to the Skills Panel in the main theatre on Thursday 9th Nov at 11:45, or come find the 3t Training Services team at Stands E15 and E16.