Offshore wind ‘workforce crisis’ looming, engineering boss claims

A “workforce crisis” is looming in the offshore wind sector unless government and industry take action, according to the boss of an engineering firm.

Graham Hacon, chief executive of 3Sun Group, claims businesses, training technicians and inspection engineers can no longer “carry the financial burden of funding training”.

He added that the situation is unsustainable if tenders are then handed to “companies that invest nothing” in the sector.

Due to speak at the Southern North Sea conference, SNS2019 in Norwich this week, he will call for evidence of training provision to be compulsory in tenders.

He said: “Companies must be made to demonstrate their commitment to training and development of people, and the industry, in tenders if the industry wants long term sustainability in the supply chain and be able to say offshore wind is an ethical industry in how the supply chain is treated.

“Where is the incentive for SMEs like mine to continue to invest in training if contracts are then given to companies who invest nothing?

“My ethos has always been to provide employment for local people to service an industry growing in their region that is crying out for an ever-expanding pool of skilled workers to meet its needs and maintain the UK’s position as world leader.”

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In March, Scottish energy minister Paul Wheelhouse warned that “patience was wearing thin” with wind developers who take Scottish Government support, only to hand construction contracts to foreign suppliers.

The Scottish Government held an offshore wind summit last month in which it said it may add “conditions to future” offshore wind tenders.

Mr Hacon: ““In the future, in the tender process, companies must be made to show where their resources will come from to deliver that contract, how they will develop their staff and how they will backfill the pipeline?”