Delivering 450 GW by 2050 (or even 100 GW by 2030) sets significant technological, business and policy challenges for the offshore wind energy industry. But it is also a formidable human resources challenge. What will be the recruitment needs to deliver the first 100 GW? Can the offshore wind energy industry attract and retain the required talents?
These were questions discussed by an expert panel this afternoon at WindEurope Offshore 2019 in Copenhagen. LM WindPower chaired a panel of speakers representing Fred. Olsen Ocean, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Aker Solutions, and Engineer the Future. All panellists agreed that we need a multi-tiered response to this challenge: technological adaptation, skills & education, better marketing of the sector for employees, better salaries, and a more diverse workforce.
In terms of technological advances, these will be essential to keeping costs down in the future: fewer turbines, fewer work hours, and significantly higher-quality turbines. The industry needs to start with early education to attract people and kids. Teachers are ‘the single most important’ factor in children’s education. The industry thus needs to shift the way it approaches education and develop local market knowledge.
Robots will also play an important role, and perhaps can be used to do the most dangerous jobs in offshore wind. Governments could play a role in setting up some support and legal advice in order to fill in the skills gap.
The industry needs to communicate better, and in a more diverse way, on the needs of the sector – and to communicate that to HR managers. It is clear that the industry needs to attract more women, and there needs to be more outreach on this.
Finally, the industry should take steps to secure higher and stable wages all year round: a steady pipeline of work securing long-term employment (onshore and offshore, winter and summer).