Growing interest in the rapidly-expanding offshore wind sector took a new twist earlier this week when the website of the influential US magazine Popular Science published an article featuring marine-based wind turbine concepts with “super-chic lofts for employees.”
The article said that a Bulgarian design firm predicts a future in which gigantic offshore wind turbines come equipped with futuristic housing for workers.
“Part of the inspiration for these lofts was a European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) report estimating that by 2030, there will be over 300,000 jobs in offshore wind power,” the article said.
In fact, the European wind industry faces a severe skills shortage of around 7,000 appropriately qualified staff per year. This shortfall could climb to 15,000 by 2030 — nearly 2% of the entire wind industry workforce — if numbers of suitable workers don’t increase.
The warning comes in a report to be published in early August by the EU’s Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind), based on research by renewable energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan.
The recommendations from the upcoming report include emphasising science, technology, engineering and math skills in vocational training; increasing industry input into academic courses; more graduates of wind energy generalist courses; harmonising vocational education and training across the EU; and placing greater emphasis on training in operations and maintenance.
Job opportunities will also be front and central at the EWEA OFFSHORE 2013 conference in Frankfurt in November. Hosted 19 – 21 November by EWEA, the event will feature a Careers Day as one of its many elements.
“This event is a unique opportunity for the whole of the offshore wind sector to get together – so there’s no better moment for us to put the spotlight on jobs and skills. We’ll be offering an educational update on the latest initiatives and projects in the conference, and bringing candidates and recruiters together during the matchmaking event,” says Amy Parsons, Head of Conferences at EWEA.
EWEA OFFSHORE 2013, the world’s largest offshore wind energy conference and exhibition, will present an international platform for the offshore wind energy industry to showcase and demonstrate its latest products and service. As well as an extensive exhibition, the conference programme covers a range of issues affecting the offshore wind energy industry. The biennial event will also provide a meeting place for the entire offshore wind energy supply chain.