The official evening reception was organised by Renewable UK and Energy UK and brought key stakeholders from the UK and international clean energy sector on the second evening of the COP26 Conference.
“Back then most of the calls I made to candidates with transferable skills for the wind sector were met with scorn and sometimes ridicule. “It’s fad.” “That will never take off, it’s too expensive.” Many, many people thought it was a pipe dream. Too risky to wage their careers on. Well, look where we are today. Costs have been slashed and confirmed GW in development is rising, on what seems to be, a weekly basis.”
And ‘people’ was the key focus of Tom’s talk. To 2030 the global wind industry alone will require hundreds of thousands of workers and to 2026 in the UK, the offshore wind industry needs to attract, train, and retain an additional 45,000 people to meet the demands of the projects currently confirmed. Thousands more will be required in onshore wind, solar, storage, hydrogen, home insulation, heat pumps etc. And all the while other industries will be competing for the same talent.
Mobilising a workforce of this scale in this timeframe is rare and comes with huge challenges.
Whatever the outcome of the next 8 days, we desperately need people. Getting workers mobilised is critical to achieving net zero. We can all play a role. We can lobby our organisations to invest more in training new entrants, we can volunteer to take part in mentoring schemes inside and outside our own businesses, and we can simply share our stories with young people in education to show them the pathways into our industry. We can give confidence to those working in other sectors that our industry will offer them job security and fruitful careers. And we can ensure that the culture we create across all our businesses is inclusive, welcomes diversity and demonstrates to the world what a ‘just transition’ looks like; that a just transition is not just possible, but desirable.
As part of Tom’s role with the Offshore Wind Industry Council’s ‘Investment In Talent’ working groups, he will take part in a panel session to discuss what many companies across our sector are doing to make the just transition a reality.
The session entitled ‘The UK’s future Offshore Wind workforce – challenge or opportunity?’ will explore the challenges and opportunities in growing the UK’s offshore wind workforce. In doing so, they’ll explore the lessons other countries can learn, and how we can ensure a Just Transition from carbon intensive industries to clean energy.
Find out more and register.