Jobs in offshore wind to more than double by 2026
The number of jobs in the UK's offshore wind sector is set to more than double over the next five years, with the industry also attracting tens of billions of pounds of investment during that time.
That is according to research published today by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC), which forecasts that the number of direct and indirect jobs in offshore wind will rise from 26,000 to over 69,800 by 2026.
Most of these are expected to be created in parts of the country which urgently need levelling up, including the north east of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Anglia and Scotland.
The research also suggests that the private sector will invest £60.8bn over the next five years in developing, constructing and operating offshore wind projects as the industry expands to help the government achieve its net-zero emissions goal.
Average annual investment of £10.1bn is forecast between 2021 and 2026, reaching a peak of £10.6bn in 2026.
“The UK offshore wind industry employs thousands of people in parts of the country which other sectors fail to reach and which need levelling up the most,” said Danielle Lane, industry chair of the OWIC.
“We offer opportunities to people from all backgrounds and with qualifications at every level to work in an industry which is playing a crucial role in tackling dangerous climate change, enabling us to meet the government’s net-zero emissions target as fast as possible.”
A total of 40,700 workers are forecast to be directly employed by the offshore wind sector by 2026, while 29,148 are expected to have indirect jobs supported by the industry.
More than three-quarters of current jobs are highly skilled, technical and management roles, with the sector looking in particular to fill vacancies for electrical engineers, civil engineers, project managers, surveyors, data analysts and digital specialists.
At present, women make up 18% of the workforce, but the industry has committed to increasing this to at least one-third by 2030, and to reach a stretch target of 40% if possible.
The new research also shows that the sector currently offers a well-balanced range of opportunities for people with skills and qualifications at every level, from GCSEs and A-levels to Higher Education Certificates and Diplomas and university degrees.
RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, Melanie Onn, who leads on OWIC’s people and skills work, said: “Renewables are creating new opportunities for people across the UK, from school-leavers and graduates to workers leaving fossil fuel industries, and we want to ensure the right training and support is in place to harness all the talent and expertise we’ll need in the transition to clean energy.”
Image credit: iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM