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The majority of UK offshore workforce to be delivering low carbon energy by 2030

10th June 2021

Paul de Leeuw, director of the Energy Transition Institute at Robert Gordon University

A new UK Offshore Energy Workforce Transferability Review by Robert Gordon University (RGU), Scotland, highlights that the offshore energy workforce mix will change significantly in the next 10 years, with roles in decarbonised energies projected to increase from 20% to 65% of all jobs in the offshore energy sector (oil and gas, offshore wind, carbon capture utilisation and storage and hydrogen).


The review also indicates that over 90% of the UK’s oil and gas workforce have medium to high skills transferability and are well positioned to work in adjacent energy sectors.


The opportunities for the UK energy supply chain and for jobs are significant, with over £170 billion investment to be made in capital and operating activities in the UK offshore energy sector over the next 10 years. The review shows that around 200,000 skilled people are expected to be required in the UK offshore energy industry to ensure delivery in 2030. However, it also highlights the consequences of not delivering the ambitions set by government and industry and the associated impact on jobs.


The review calls for the UK and the devolved governments to work together with the offshore energy industry and further and higher education sector to ensure the managed transition of skills and experience in a way that protects and sustains key UK energy jobs.


Professor Paul de Leeuw, director of the Energy Transition Institute at RGU and the review’s lead author, commented: “This Review highlights the material prize for the UK. Successful delivery of the UK and the devolved governments’ energy transition ambitions has the opportunity to secure around 200,000 jobs in 2030 for the offshore energy workforce. With the overall number of jobs in the UK oil and gas industry projected to decline over time, the degree of transferability of jobs to adjacent energy sectors such as offshore wind, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen or other industrial sectors will be key to ensuring the UK retains its world class skills and capabilities. 


“With many of the skills and competencies required for the offshore energy sector to be highly interchangeable, the energy transition offers a unique opportunity to create a new world class net zero energy workforce. The workforce transferability model developed as part of the review enables new insights on the workforce implications for a wide range of scenarios on how to ensure a just and fair transition. The model can also provide real-time insights on future workforce requirements and the job and transferability impact of specific investments or policy decisions.


“There is a significant role for the higher education sector to play in ensuring the targets set out by governments and industry are achieved and that the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce is delivered to meet the demands of the changing energy landscape.”

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