The first apprenticeship dedicated to wind turbine installation and commissioning has been launched to help the government meet its renewable energy targets by the end of the decade.
Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) says it has developed the course to give the sector a source of recruits it urgently needs. EU Skills estimates that 70,000 new renewables roles will need to be filled over the next 10 years in addition to the 45,000-55,000 employees the power industry will need to recruit to replace an ageing workforce.
183 students have already qualified or are studying on the courses running at colleges throughout the UK. Employers with apprentices on their books include Siemens, RWE and DONG Energy.
Neil Robertson, chief executive of EU Skills, said: “The power industry employs more than 87,000 people, but faces losing 80 per cent of its existing workforce in the next 10 years, mainly due to retirement of an ageing workforce.
“This loss in employee numbers, exacerbated by the need for low carbon energy solutions that utilise new technologies and techniques, means we are seeing a skills gap open up. In addition, an increase in demand for power means this industry must shift to play its part in maintaining the wellbeing of the UK economy.
“These Apprenticeships are so important for supplying competent people that are able to develop, maintain and enhance the industry for the future. Without a workforce equipped with the skills to manage a changing renewable landscape, we risk being unable to keep the lights on in the future.”