By Isabella Kaminski
The wind and marine industries could see huge employment growth if the right policies are put in place, according to a report by RenewableUK and Energy & Utility Skills.
The report, Working for a Green Britain Vol 2, says skills shorthages must be address to ensure well-qualified staff can fill the gaps.
It outlines three possible market development scenarios (high growth, medium growth and low growth) in the wind, wave and tidal energy industries – if sufficient skilled recruits are available to employers.
Under the medium growth scenario, 67,200 new jobs would be created in the wind and marine sector and its supply chain, as wind and marine capacity reaches 41.5GW, up from 21,100 jobs in 2010. The high growth scenario (51.8GW) would require 115,000 full-time employees working directly in the sector or supporting it by providing raw materials, manufacturing or supplying business support services.
According to the report, the UK needs an effective and stable policy and legislative framework for renewables to achieve this growth. This framework would provide clear incentives for private sector investment, and would encourage a willingness among all parties to invest in the people and skills required to underpin expansion.
But the report suggests that the UK skills system is currently failing to ensure that an adequate supply of qualified new recruits is entering the labour market. The report calls on employers to invest in their current and future workforce and to work with providers of skills to ensure that they are meeting requirements. The government and skills providers are called on to supply appropriate wind and marine skills to the labour market.
Maria McCaffery, CEO of RenewableUK, says: “This report shows the enormous potential that exists within the renewable energy industries to provide tens of thousands of permanent, well-paid jobs for the engineers, scientists, technicians and economists of the future. However, we must ensure that the right training is available to ensure that the workforce has the appropriate skills to serve this dynamic sector, as it continues to expand at an extraordinary rate.”
Tim Balcon, CEO of Energy & Utility Skills, says: “No one organisation or company can achieve this on their own. Both EU Skills and the National Skills Academy for Power are working hard to make sure that the UK skills system is aware of the scale of the challenges ahead and are capable of meeting employers’ needs going forward.”