A key industry expert recently stated that the renewable energy sector could provide a much-needed solution to the skills gap issue in some of the UK’s technical industries, On Rec reports.
In its latest report, Shell Springboard noted that the UK’s current number of yearly STEM graduates (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is around 50,000 less than what’s needed. In terms of the country’s low-carbon economy, this deficit means we could be losing out on annual growth of £6.7 billion by the year 2023.
With this in mind, the firm is calling for the next government – whoever that might be – to prioritise tackling the skills gap issue when forming its low-carbon agenda.
Others in the industry – such as David Hunt, chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s On-site Renewables Group – feel that the renewable sector itself could do more to take the matter into their own hands, such as creating its own campaign.
Hunt acknowledges that until now, employers have looked for “ready-made candidates they can pick off the shelf”, as opposed to developing talent of their own, or encouraging employees in similar industries to adapt their skills to the renewables market.
However, he says there needs to be a “longer-term strategy” in place in order for significant changes to be made.
“Wouldn’t it be terrific if the renewables sector came together with its own high profile campaign to highlight the opportunities available both to employees looking to transfer their skills and to those entering the workplace for the first time?” he told reporters.
Referring to tech, science and engineering skills as being the “life blood” of the renewables industry, he feels that it is their responsibility to do everything they can to encourage the most skilled and talented individuals to join the sector.