With an anticipated explosion in the growth of offshore renewables by 2030, the Institute for Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) says now is the time to inspire young people into offshore renewable engineering and close the skills gap. The sector is predicted to see a six-fold increase in power production to 180 GW by 20301 with jobs set to expand from 26,000 to 69,800 by 20262. However, as automated cloud processing, machine learning and AI are introduced to optimise offshore wind operations, the challenge is to not only inspire new recruits but also upskill existing professionals.

The skills gap is high on our agenda,” says Mark Calverley, co-chair of the IMarEST’s Offshore Renewables special interest group (ORSIG), which has a dedicated skills working group. “It’s simply not feasible to support all of this growth with the number of people in the industry right now. We need to encourage more graduates and apprentices into the sector as well as upskilling existing employees and supporting professionals who may want to transfer into this growth sector.”

The group is calling on employers to support outreach programmes for schools and universities and provide real-life insight into the sector through role models. Mark adds: “It’s important that we make the industry visible to young people, their teachers and parents. Unless you know someone who works in this field, it’s unlikely you’ll hear about it as a career option, so we need role models to visit schools and universities and inspire the next generation. We also need mentoring schemes to support young people coming into the industry, and, as the mentoring process works both ways, we can upskill the existing workforce with the new skills and knowledge coming out of colleges and universities. This is important because we don’t just have a skills issue, we have a retraining issue.

The ORSIG is also keen to highlight the opportunity the industry has of creating greater diversity and a positive work culture that supports inclusivity where people are recognised for their talents and abilities.

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