Economic Opportunity – Skills
As we continue the transition to a low carbon economy and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, the need for a skilled workforce is more important than ever.
With a history of oil and gas expertise in Scotland, and building on our existing onshore and offshore wind supply chains, we are uniquely placed to build on these existing skills, and provide skilled professionals to meet the increasing demands of the growing offshore wind industry, from planning through to development and, ultimately, operations and maintenance (O&M).
Through our STEM Strategy and our STEM Hub Partnerships, we are working with industry specialists to continue to inspire talented individuals from all backgrounds, including school leavers and career changers, and to promote the Scottish Offshore wind sector as an attractive industry for a future career.
Our current and future skills landscape must be able to incorporate the varying job requirements of the sector, across the supply chain, from leadership and management, project management and technical roles, project development and planning through to manufacture, construction and O&M. We must also continue to consider the export value that can be derived for the Scottish supply chain arising from exploiting our uniquely placed skills and established business networks in other countries.
The Scottish Government is fully committed to ensuring that our workforce remains ready for the skills demands of the industry, and has in recent years granted £460,000 to Energy Skills Partnership to provide valuable technology and expertise for college courses across the country. This has been used to establish relevant courses, with a high level of graduate employment creating demand for more.
The Scottish supply chain must be able to provide companies with access to the skills required to develop projects now, and as we look towards the future. To fully understand this, the industry must be able to indicate estimated job requirements to allow our skills capacity and capability to be fully prepared.
Scotland’s clusters, DeepWind and Forth & Tay, will remain crucial forums for industry to collaborate and communicate in locations where the current demand for skilled offshore wind jobs is at its highest. Further to this, SOWEC is working to understand the anticipated demand for skills in Scotland, which will allow us to ensure that the skills supply is in place in line with industry demand.
By improving our understanding of job demand, our skills sector will be able to react appropriately and comprehensively to industry requirements – ensuring maximum benefit to Scotland’s economy, especially in coastal and rural areas, where viable employment is crucial to the local communities.
We know that we must continue to increase gender diversity and BAME representation throughout the sector, and recognise the challenges in recruitment, and we are ensuring through SOWEC that our ambitions are in line with UK Sector Deal Targets.
Schools must lead by example to educate children on the vast array of jobs included within the sector, ensuring that children from all backgrounds consider offshore wind as a viable career option. Industry must also recognise these targets and ensure they are considered within their recruitment processes.
The Scottish Government and SOWEC will continue to engage with the UK Investment in Talent Group to ensure that Scotland’s unique skills system is recognised and reflected when developing skills interventions intended for use across the UK.
17. What are the key skills issues and gaps facing the sector over the coming years, in the short and medium term?
18. What more should government and the sector do to build on the progress made in recent years?
19. What can Scotland learn from the approach taken in other countries around the world in this area? Are there examples of best practice you can share?