GBP 1.2 million training initiative set up in groundbreaking partnership of renewables industry and Government to tackle green skills shortage

RenewableUK, Britain's largest renewable energy trade association, is proud to announce the creation of a new organisation, the Renewables Training Network (RTN), which will address critical skills shortages within the renewable energy industry.


Businesses in the renewables sector have pledged the equivalent of GBP 600,000 of support for the GBP 1.2 million project. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) has matched this by awarding GBP 580,000 from the Growth and Innovation Fund to the new body.


RenewableUK is determined to resolve the skills gaps affecting the industry. The collaboration we have forged among companies to invest and develop solutions through this scheme will be critical to this. The wind and marine energy will support 88,300 UK jobs by 2021, up from 10,600 today - if the right policies and financial conditions are in place, and sufficient skilled recruits can be found.


The shortage of high quality, industry-specific training institutions, courses and tutors is acting as a constraint to growth for companies in this rapidly developing sector. There's a lack of opportunities for mature skilled entrants to re-train. 2,000 new transition training places will be delivered by the RTN over the next 2 years. By jointly investing in training, businesses will attract a diverse pool of trainees and provide them with access to up-skilling and employment. The RTN will open new avenues for fast tracking the transformation of generalists into experts.


Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, said: "It's great news that we've had widespread support to create an initiative to address the training gap. The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest growing areas of the economy, and this initiative is essential to ensure that growth can continue - and that people from a diverse set of backgrounds can make the most of the enormous job opportunities. Working collaboratively with the National Skills Academy for Power, RenewableUK is very excited about setting up and running this project"


Steve Davies, Chief Executive, the National Skills Academy for Power, said: "Bringing new skills and new people into the renewables industry is essential if we are to meet the exceptional 500% increase in workforce conservatively predicted by the end of the decade. Over recent years there has been an emphasis on apprentices, college and university graduates and how we bring them into the industry. This is great, but it's only a part of the solution. We need to give experienced people who are currently working in related industries help to access the opportunities renewables presents".


Christian T. Skakkebæk, DONG Energy UK's Senior Vice President, Renewables, said: "The UK is marching forward with a significant programme of new wind farms and we need to make sure the skills base grows with that. As one of the largest wind operators and developers in the UK, it's very important for us to invest in initiatives like the RTN. We will be actively involved in helping develop the organisation and the training programme together with the other partners".


Gary Robinson, Group Head of HR at RES said; "This initiative is a great example of what can be achieved by collaboration across our fast-developing industry. The inevitable shortage of people with the right mix of skills and experience in critical disciplines threatens our ability to meet the challenging targets we are all facing. The RTN will have a significant impact on our ability to plug this skills gap".


Rachel Disney, HR Manager UK for RWE Npower renewables, said: "Our participation in the RTN demonstrates our commitment to build upon the work already done to generate entry and training routes into this exciting industry. The RTN will ensure the delivery of high quality training to support people in gaining employment and developing the skills required to make a real difference as the UK moves to a lower carbon economy".


Steve Burgin, UK Country President for Alstom said: 'The development of the UK renewables sector, and in particular the offshore market, is fundamental in driving carbon reduction, security of supply and economic growth. Timely investment in renewables skills development ahead of the anticipated demand surge in the coming years is therefore essential to ensure that the sector can deliver efficiently, affordably and safely".


Rob Hastings, director of the marine estate at The Crown Estate, said: "We are delighted to support the provision of transitional training to boost opportunities for experienced personnel to transfer into the UK offshore wind industry, or for those who are seeking new employment in the industry".


Hazel McKibbin, HR Consultant for ScottishPower Renewables, said:" We are delighted to be involved in the RTN. The shortage of skills, particularly in offshore and marine areas, is a reality that employers in this sector are finding a constraint as a result of the exponential growth predicted in the industry".


Frances O' Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary, said: "If we're serious about moving to a low carbon economy, we need a highly skilled UK workforce to take advantage of the new jobs being created. This kind of investment is exactly what's needed to improve workers' skills in the renewable energy industry."

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