UK Offshore Wind Sector Deal To Triple “Green Collar” Jobs By 2030

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The UK Government is expected to announce its long-awaited Offshore Wind Sector deal sometime this week and has revealed that it intends to use the Sector deal to triple “green collar” jobs to 27,000 by 2030 and ensure at least a third of all jobs are held by women.

On Tuesday, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) unveiled the opening salvo of its long-awaited Offshore Wind Sector deal, which is expected to be announced as early as Thursday. The UK’s “Sector Deals” are “Partnerships between the government and industry on sector-specific issues can create significant opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation, and skills” and have been used to support everything from the life sciences and automotive industries through to tourism and the creative arts.

The UK’s Offshore Wind Sector deal has been a long time coming, and a year ago the UK Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) presented an ambitious 2030 Vision to spur £48 billion in new investments in the country’s infrastructure and increase offshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030. The specifics of the new Deal are mostly unknown, but in November the UK’s Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced that the Government and the offshore wind industry were close to reach an agreement.

Announced on Wednesday, the BEIS and Claire Perry revealed that “Ambitious plans to increase the proportion of women working in the offshore wind sector and triple the number of highly skilled jobs are set to be announced” on Thursday.

Specifically, the Sector deal will look to increase the number of “green collar” jobs in the offshore wind industry to 27,000 by 2030, more than tripling the current 7,200 jobs. Further, only 16% of the UK’s offshore wind workforce are women, but the new Sector deal will aim to more than double the number of women entering the industry to at least 33% by 2030, with an ambition to reach as much as 40%.

The offshore wind energy sector is also planning to implement further action to develop new skilled workers, including the introduction of an Offshore Energy Passport, recognized outside of the UK, to allow offshore wind workers to transfer their skills and expertise to other offshore renewable and oil & gas industries, helping them work seamlessly across different offshore sectors. The sector is also aiming to continue working with education institutions to develop a sector-wide curriculum to deliver a skilled and diverse UK workforce, and to facilitate skills transfer within the industry, as well as implementing targets for increasing the number of apprentices in the sector by the end of 2019.

“The move to a cleaner, greener economy is outlined in our modern Industrial Strategy as one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time,” said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry. “Working with the offshore wind industry, I want to ensure that women and young people benefit from this sea-change.

“This deal could support a tripling of jobs over the next few decades and it is exciting to see that the industry is encouraging my children’s generation – the UK’s workforce of the future – to propel themselves into the industry, giving them the skills they need to thrive in the sector.”

“If you have a can-do attitude and want to be a part of an industry that is making a positive difference to the world, you’ll be just the right person,” added Amy, a Group Lead at MHI Vestas Offshore Wind. “It is exciting to see that the offshore wind industry is pushing to increase diversity – ensuring that more women are joining the sector. There’s nothing a woman can’t do.”

This will be the tenth sector deal to be established under the modern Industrial Strategy which was implemented to reduce costs, increase productivity, decarbonize the UK economy, and grow a skilled workforce.

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Joshua S Hill

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