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Energy Skills Passport: Transitioning Oil & Gas Workers to Renewables

Jaroslav Holub | July 01, 2024

The Energy Skills Passport is an initiative aimed at helping energy professionals move seamlessly from the oil, gas sector to the renewable energy sector. The global shift to renewable energy is critical for combating climate change. With the decline of traditional oil and gas jobs and the rapid growth of renewable energy sectors such as onshore and offshore wind, there is an acute need to enable skilled workers to move into clean energy.

Understanding the Energy Skills Passport

The Energy Skills Passport is a proposed digital credentialing system designed to standardise and recognise the skills and qualifications of workers across the energy sector. It allows workers with experience from the oil & gas sector to document their skills, training and certification in a way that is easily recognised by employers in the renewable energy sector.

The creation of the Energy Skills Passport is a collaborative effort involving UK’s key industry players such as RenewableUK, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), OPITO and the Global Wind Organisation, supported by substantial funding from the Scottish Government's Just Transition Fund and backed by a broad coalition of government bodies, trade unions and industry representatives.

A key feature of the Energy Skills Passport is the alignment of technical qualifications and safety standards, which ensures that skills acquired by workers in oil and gas are recognised and transferable to renewable energy roles, improving employability and accelerating the transition process by leveraging existing expertise.

Jane Cooper, Director of Offshore Wind at RenewableUK, emphasises the necessity of attracting experienced oil and gas professionals to the renewable sector: “We are strongly committed to easing the transfer of workers from different parts of the energy sector into renewables. Offshore wind companies need to attract oil and gas workers with valuable experience and transferable skills into our sector.” Similarly, OEUK’s Katy Heidenreich underscores the initiative's broader impact: “The creation of the skills passport will help take full advantage of worker experience and capabilities while ensuring the preservation of jobs and communities nationwide.”

Opportunities in the Renewable Energy Sector

The offshore wind industry in the UK has been growing rapidly over the last decade, creating a range of opportunities, particularly for skilled workers. Currently employing over 32,000 people, the sector is expected to exceed 100,000 jobs by 2030. This growth is being driven by significant investment and ambitious government targets to increase renewable energy capacity. The demand for skilled workers in roles such as maintenance technicians, commissioning engineers and high-voltage authorised personnel is at an all-time high.

The wider renewable energy sector is also expanding in the UK, with the total number of energy generation jobs expected to reach 211,000 by 2030. This includes jobs in energy storage, solar, tidal, bioenergy and hydrogen.

Benefits for Job Seekers with Oil & Gas Background

Oil and gas professionals often posses skills that are highly valuable in the renewable energy industry. Research shows that about 90% of oil and gas employees have skills that can be applied to renewable energy jobs with minimal retraining. Engineering and management skills, technical troubleshooting and safety compliance are directly applicable to roles in offshore wind and other renewable energy sectors. The Energy Skills Passport makes it easier for employers to recognise transferable skills and outlines the additional training and certification required for people to move into specific renewable energy roles. This transparency helps workers plan their careers more effectively and reduces the uncertainty often associated with changing sectors. Training bodies and industry organisations are also developing targeted training programmes to support these transitions, ensuring that workers can up-skill quickly and efficiently where necessary.

Steps to Utilise the Energy Skills Passport

Job seekers will be able to start using the Energy Skills Passport by registering with relevant industry bodies such as OPITO or RenewableUK. Once registered, job seekers will be able to upload their existing qualifications, training records and certifications to the digital platform. This will create a profile that demonstrates their expertise and readiness for roles in the renewable energy sector.

When applying for jobs, workers will be able to use the Energy Skills Passport to demonstrate their qualifications and readiness for renewable energy roles. Including the Passport in job applications and interviews can significantly improve a candidate's prospects by clearly demonstrating their readiness for the transition. Employers will be able to streamline their recruitment process using the Passport as well.

For job seekers with a background in oil and gas, now is the time to explore opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Learn about the best paying engineering jobs in renewables in the UK in our previous article!

Article by Jaroslav Holub

Published on July 01, 2024

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