One of the biggest offshore Scotland wind-farms to be approved for a £-multi-billion state susbsidy to generate electricity with a CfD contract is struggling to recruit enough staff with the right skills to build and manage the project.
The Portuguese renewable energy power company (EDPR) won CfD status for its 1,1-MW Moray Firth East wind farm four years ago.
They have appointed the main contractor and cable-laying-designate contractors, but still need to recruit STEM and management staff to add to the 40-strong workforce at its Scottish head office in Edinburgh.
About half the staff employed in EDPR in Scotland are EU-nationals – who face losing their jobs in the hard-Brexit being negotiated by the UK government in its British Independence bilateral talks with the EU-bloc
The Moray Offshore Renewables wind-turbine farm – which is a special purpose joint venture vehicle owned between EDPR (67%) and Repsol (33%) – will be capable to meeting the electricity needs of 700,000 households when built, some 15 miles offshore
But the company admitted yesterday in its Moray Firth East wind farm supply chain policy – which has been lodged with the Brit-Govt’s BEIS department – that it has failed to find the right number of calibre of job-seekers, despite collaborating with Scot-Govt jobs quangos such as Scottish and Highlands Enterprise.
It said: “The number of <Scottish> offshore projects has increased substantially this decade.However, the number of people with skills relevant to offshore construction are limited.
“Understanding this skills gap and taking actions is vital ensure a sustainable skills supply for the <Scottish renewables offshore> sector is vital.
“As (not) shown in Annex 19, we have identified a range of skill-sets and job-families anticipated to be difficult to recruit. These positions include high-voltage senior authorised persons (SAPs), commissioning engineers, control room operators, marine co-ordinators/ shipping officers and supply-boat deck crew members.
“With a limited recruitment pool of people experience in offshore development projects, recruiting staff solely from oil and gas and/or other renewable energy developments does not provide a sustainable workforce – and generates counter-product results through rapid turnover and un-sustainable competition for skilled recruits.”
Even though EDPR runs a trainee programme and an ‘executive development programme’ for potential managers, it still has not been able to meet its skilled recruitment needs. To redress this – in part – EDPR has seconded a senior manager on a four year contract to the Highlands University to help design student courses which will deliver the graduate trainees it is seeking.
EDPR is also suffering an acute imbalance in gender-recruitment – only 10% of CVs and applications come frae women, despite positive discrimination employment procedures designed to get mair women into STEM jobs in renewable energy and encouraging women to take extra-curricular courses and qualifications in communications, for example.
EDPR admits: “Simply ‘up-skilling’ internal workers is not enough to close the skills gap and – as a result – there is currently a shortage of potential employees with suitable experience and skills for offshore wind projects.”
Large parts of the EDPR offshore renewable energy supply chain and skills shortage plan have been censored by the company – especially those sections relating to how it was worked a range of British and Scottish government jobs quangos and how these have succeeded (or otherwise).
Freedom of movement of people for jobs in the EU was one of the keynote themes of the landmark Renewables After Brexit conference held at … last month.
Andy Yuill, Senior Renewable Heat Manager at Dumfries-shire-based Natural Power has joined the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Certification Register of Heat Network Consultants following his training and exam success.
16 Jan 2018