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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Roadmap for energy skills transition secures support from UK wind, oil and gas sectors


Close up of male maintenance technician inspecting top of wind turbine Photo: Adobe Stock/vectorwin
Some 90% per cent of oil and gas industry workers have skills which can be transferred to new offshore jobs in renewable energy, including wind, according to research commissioned by OEUK

Photo: Adobe Stock/vectorwin

Energy industry leaders from across the UK wind, oil and gas industries are backing a roadmap for a prototype ‘energy skills passport’ to enable cross-sector recognition of energy industry expertise and training.

‘The ability for workers to move smoothly around all parts of the energy mix, from jobs in the oil and gas sector to specialist roles in wind and other areas of the energy transition, can help preserve and expand the UK’s homegrown energy industry and speed the transition process,’ say industry associations Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) and RenewableUK.


There are currently thousands of skilled workers in the UK oil and gas sector and this is set to decline in the decades ahead, reports OEUK; while the growing UK offshore wind industry already employs 32,000 people and that number is expected to rise to over 100,000 by 2030, according to analysis from RenewableUK.


Industry training bodies estimate the total number of jobs in energy production will reach 211,000 by 2030 and the passport could be adapted for other sectors to help the UK and devolved nations meet their net zero targets.


Energy industry leaders are keen to ensure these new jobs go to UK workers with relevant skills from a variety of sectors which means a framework for recognition of specialist expertise must be agreed.


Oil and gas production in the UK is now declining by around 12% a year. Research commissioned by OEUK showed that 90% per cent of oil and gas industry workers have skills which can be transferred to new offshore jobs in renewable energy.


A cross-sector partnership comprising OEUK, RenewableUK, OPITO, Global Wind Organisation (GWO) and representatives from oil and gas and offshore wind energy sector employers, alongside government, trade union, and trade and skills bodies, have contributed expertise to the skills passport project.


The industry-led project has been supported by £3.7mn in funding from the Scottish government’s Just Transition Fund to OPITO.


The focus of the passport project is on the alignment of technical qualifications and the mapping of safety standards, the creation of career pathways for relevant roles, and a mechanism for employers and employees to understand recognised standards.


It has resulted in the creation of career pathway information for over 30 oil and gas roles and entry routes into the wind industry leading to roles such as maintenance technician, commissioning technician, high-voltage senior authorised person and troubleshooting technician.


GWO and OPITO are continuing to collaborate to develop career pathways for the highest-priority roles in offshore wind, which will be finalised later this year. This will mean workers can identify the further qualifications and training they need to apply for such jobs. 


Further refinements, including user testing of the new mechanism, are scheduled in the summer and autumn, before a final version is made freely available later this year.


RenewableUK and OEUK will now look to identify other potential areas of work that could further support the transition of workers between sectors.


RenewableUK’s Executive Director of Offshore Wind Jane Cooper says: ‘We are strongly committed to easing the transfer of workers from different parts of the energy sector into renewables. Offshore wind companies need to attract oil and gas workers with valuable experience and transferable skills into our sector.’


OEUK Supply Chain and People Director Katy Heidenreich adds: ‘The UK’s energy future hinges upon the expertise of our exceptional offshore workforce. The creation of the skills passport will help take full advantage of worker experience and capabilities while ensuring the preservation of jobs and communities nationwide.'