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Wind faces 'desperate' skills shortage

The European wind industry faces a shortage of about 5,500 skilled workers every year.

And this shortfall could climb to 18,000 by 2030.

The warning comes in a report, European Wind Energy Training Needs, Opportunities and Recommendations, by the EU’s Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind), based on research by GL Garrad Hassan.

“Well over half of the shortfall in new workers in 2030 could be in operations and maintenance [O&M],” says Andrew Garrad, chairman of GL Garrad Hassan. “Engineers are in desperately short supply."

Garrad says 78% of companies interviewed for the report described it as “difficult” or “very difficult” to recruit staff.

“We have inadequate communication between the academic and industrial side of our business. We need to upskill and bring in people from other industries.”

The report recommends:

  • an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills in vocational training;
  • increased industry input into academic courses;
  • more graduates of wind generalist courses;
  • the harmonisation of vocational education and training across the EU; and
  • a greater emphasis on training in O&M.

Jacopo Moccia, head of policy analysis at EWEA, which co-ordinates and hosts the TPWind secretariat, says: "At a time of rising unemployment, it makes no sense that the wind industry cannot find the skilled personnel it urgently needs.”

TPWind chairman Henning Kruse adds:“Targeted training courses must be created and graduate numbers from those courses increased, so that the sector can meet its staff needs and continue to provide jobs and revenue in today’s tough economic climate.”

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