To make the renewable energies sector a feasible solution to climate change, a “skills gap” needs to be overcome. While emissions targets are ensuring a constant need for engineers and physicians to work on renewable energy projects, there is a lack of procurable employees. The Department for Trade and Industry estimate 35,000 jobs could be available by 2020, vastly increasing from the current 8,000 (Department of Trade and Industry, 2004). However, there is concern over whether there are enough qualified people to fill these roles as “a commonly held opinion is that the UK isn’t producing enough qualified engineers” (Blackman, 2012).
The Leitch Review of skills writes that “the UK’s skills base remains weak by international standards” and unless this is improved, UK businesses will find it hard to compete (Leitch, 2006). With “global migration flows…increasing” the UK may struggle in the “global war for talent” (Beechler and Woodward, 2009) with skilled workers moving to countries such as Germany, Denmark and Spain who have better incentives to join the renewables industry. These workers may also move towards nuclear power over renewables due to its influential supporters (Parkinson, 2006), further contracting the available pool of employees.
For the renewables sector to reach its potential in decarbonising the corporate world, the UK must improve this skills gap. While looking at graduate jobs, I have been surprised by the number of vacancies that detail the company’s commitment to tackling climate change. While researching Transport Planning as a career path I have discovered the majority of the positions available describe a focus on creating a sustainable future; showing how companies are really trying to promote the use of low carbon strategies, including development and use of renewables, demonstrating further the need to reduce this skills gap in the UK.
Leitch Review of Skills (2006). Prosperity for all in the global economy – world class skills. Final Report. HM Treasury, HMSO, Norwich.
Beechler, S. and Woodward, I.C. (2009). The global “war for talent”. Journal of International Management, 15(3): 273-285.
Blackman, S. (2012). Wind energy recruitment: the challenge of hiring skilled workers. Retrieved (October 11, 2016) from http://www.power-technology.com/features/featurewind-energy-recruitment-challenge-hiring-skilled-workers/
Parkinson, S. (2006). Not enough skilled workers to build new UK nuclear power stations? Retrieved (October 11, 2016) from http://www.sgr.org.uk/resources/not-enough-skilled-workers-build-new-uk-nuclear-power-stations.
Department of Trade and Industry, Renewable Supply Chain Gap (2004). Retrieved from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.dti.gov.uk/files/file15401.pdf.
Infrastructure Intelligence. (2016). World’s largest wind farm on Yorkshire coast gets green light. Retrieved (October 11, 2016) from http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/aug-2016/largest-wind-farm-world-gets-green-light.