Speakers at the New Energy Workforce event’ at the University of Hull this coming Wednesday March 28, will help outline the potential of the wind industry to create jobs and skills for the Humber region.
Organised by HCF Ltd and the University of Hull’s business-facing renewable energy and low carbon organisation, CASS, the event will assess how the region’s businesses, local government and communities can work together to make the most of the opportunity.
The east coast is the focus of some of the largest planned offshore wind energy developments, part of the Crown Estates Round Three Offshore development programme.
About 18GW of offshore wind energy is planned by 2020 - a huge increase within the next few years, requiring significant investment in infrastructure and growth of the UK supply chain.
The Dogger Bank development (10GW) and Hornsea zone (4GW) will be the biggest ever developments of their kind when completed. The growth of the industry is attracting large international wind energy companies, such as Siemens, which is planning a wind turbine facility in the Humber region to meet the demands of Round Three. Such developments promise to create jobs and skills in what is essentially a new rapidly growing sector for the UK.
Speakers, representing all parts of the industry, include Dr. Eddie O’Connor, chief executive, Mainstream Renewable Power; Martin Hottass, UK Skills Partner, Siemens, Tim Balcon, chief executive, Energy & Utility Skills; Glenn Sibbick, project director, Centrica Storage, and Steve Batty, production manager, Vivergo Fuels.
Steve Batty, production manager, Vivergo Fuels, said: “There appears to be a lack of true links between educational providers and industry with the right kind of training unavailable either for the youngsters coming through schools and colleges or for mature trainees.
“I think that a lot more can be done to build contacts between experienced engineers and educators as well as getting them into the classrooms to help show students and teachers the challenges industry faces and the opportunities that are coming through,” said Mr Batty, who helped set up a training arrangement between JobCentre Plus and Hull College which eventually saw Vivergo take on six students who had been through a specially designed programme.
Improving the skills and abilities of the workforce is also an issue for Martin Hottass, UK Skills Partner, Siemens.
“Siemens is the leading provider of offshore wind energy solutions to the UK market, encompassing leading edge turbine technology, grid connections and service, “ said Mr Hottass. “We are also leading the way in skills and training for the renewables sector. In 2010 we announced our plans to develop a wind turbine facility and last year confirmed our preferred location as the Green Port Hull development.
“We are also investing heavily in our R&D and skills and training infrastructure, including a £3m investment in our wind power training school in Newcastle and have tripled our intake of wind power service technicians on the dedicated apprenticeship scheme.
“This sector has huge regeneration potential and promises to create many opportunities for employment as the sector develops.”
Tim Balcon, chief executive, Energy & Utility Skills, believes that companies must work together to achieve a way forward.
“Although there are some very good training providers out there, the necessary training and recruitment provision and routes into industry are not nearly enough to cope with the number of positions expected.
“Individual companies, no matter how big, can’t do it on their own. It won’t be solved by single companies but by industry working together, and with educational organisations and local and national government,” said Mr Balcon.
The conference is targeted at the energy intensive industries, supply chain companies, colleges, schools and universities, careers advisers, business support organisations, government and public sector organisations.
The event will run between 1pm and 6pm on Wednesday, March 28, at the University of Hull’s Allam Lecture Theatre.
A question and answer panel discussion will be chaired by Tom Heap, BBC Countryfile presenter and Panorama reporter.
Tickets cost £75 +VAT for HCF members, or £90 +VAT for non-members.
For more information or to book your place please contact Bethan Clayton, HCF, t. 01469 552841, e. firstname.lastname@example.org