Michael Love, Head of Skills Policy at Opito, shared crucial insights on the transition of skills from traditional energy sectors to support the growth of the renewable energy industry. Having been with Opito for over 5 years and being a key figure in delivering the North Sea Transition Deals 'Integrated People and Skills Strategy', Michael shares a full-scale look at how important adapting skills is to support the growth of renewables.
Transferring Oil and Gas Skills to Renewable Energy
Love emphasised the significant potential for professionals in the oil and gas industry to transition their skills to renewable energy. He noted that a significant portion of the UK's oil and gas workforce possesses incredibly transferable skills that can fill key gaps in the renewable energy sector. Providing skills such as technical expertise, people management, leadership, and digital, they can be effectively utilised in renewable energy sectors.
Adapting Training for Renewable Energy Skills
Opito is at the forefront of adapting its training programs to meet the growing demand for renewable energy skills. With a 50-year legacy, Opito has introduced credit-rated energy transition qualifications focusing on key sectors like wind power, hydrogen and carbon capture. They’re also key players in establishing Energy Skills Passport, to help streamline skill transfer and qualification recognition across energy sectors. This initiative is particularly focused on the UK market but has the potential to influence global standards. The Energy Skills Alliance compliments this by aiming to create skills for a net zero future, reducing industry barriers to facilitate the free movement of professionals across sectors like nuclear, wind, and oil and gas.
The Demand for Renewable Energy Skills
Michael provided a sector-by-sector breakdown of expected skill demands in renewable energy. For example, the offshore wind sector could support up to 90,000 jobs in the UK by 2030, with strong demand for consenting skills, mechanical and electrical disciplines, as well as engineering roles. Similarly, carbon capture and hydrogen sectors will require project management, process engineering, and gas safety skills, among others.
The Importance of Cross-Industry Collaboration
Stressing the importance of cross-industry collaboration, Michael highlighted the need for a unified approach across distinct energy sectors. He speaks about the challenges posed by differences in qualifications, regulations, and funding streams in the UK's devolved education system. Opito's integrated people and skills strategy, developed through extensive industry engagement, aims to address these challenges and facilitate a smooth talent transition into renewable energy. For professionals considering a move to renewables, Love advised evaluating industry experience to identify pivot areas, both in technical and softer skills. For companies, he recommended making environmental, social, and governance credentials clear and focusing on diversity, inclusion, and flexible working to attract talent.
Addressing Talent Availability for COP28 Goals
In response to achieving the COP28 goal of 11,000 gigawatts of renewable energy power by 2030, Love acknowledged the existing talent pool but stressed the need to attract more professionals from various engineering and scientific sectors. He highlighted their "Meeting Future Skills Demand" action plan, which focuses on developing an offshore energy vocational education framework and integrated approaches for graduate and postgraduate attraction. The Energy Skills Alliance's initiatives, such as developing a vocational education framework and integrated approaches for graduate attraction, also play crucial parts in addressing the skill shortages.
Michael Love's insights offer a roadmap for the energy sector’s transition to a net zero economy, highlighting the crucial role of skills transfer, training adaptation, and cross-sector collaboration in achieving the ambitious goals of renewable energy expansion, with the Energy Skills Intelligence Hub playing a pivotal role. Both Opito and the Energy Skills Alliance underscore the belief that collaborative efforts yield more effective and enduring results in the energy transition.
If you’ve found this article useful and would like to hear more of what Michael has to say on the effects of COP28’s commitments on talent, you can dive deeper into our latest report, Powering the Energy Transition.
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