Dutch offshore wind employment analysis 2019-2023

On Wednesday, 10 July, at the Netherlands Offshore Wind Q-meeting, TKI Wind op Zee presented the new report on employment in the Dutch offshore wind industry. The report provides insight into the number of people and the competences that are required to successfully enroll offshore wind in Dutch waters up to 2023. The objective of the report was to provide insights which can be used to develop plans for education and inflow of future employees to the offshore wind sector.

Offshore wind plays an important role in the Dutch energy transition. For the near future the Dutch government has the policy to have five offshore wind farms of circa 700 MW each, realised as from 2019 until 2024. TKI Wind op Zee in cooperation with RVO.nl, has initiated a study to assess the employment development and required competences in the construction and operational phase of offshore wind farms in the coming years. It commissioned Erik Knol (Qeam) and Erwin Coolen (ECHT) to perform the study. The conclusions of the study are presented in the report ‘Employment analysis (2019-2023)of various fields of activities in the Dutch offshore wind sector’.

A bottom-up approach was used for the study. By means of interviews, various iterations on employment figures, workshops, factory visits, and feedback on draft versions of this report, with staff from several offshore companies (e.g. Deutsche Windtechnik, Gemini, OutSmart, SeaZip, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, SIF, Smulders, and Van Oord), the employment developments at existing offshore wind farms was analysed. Competencies were analysed by using the following framework: a) functional competencies, and b) foundational competencies. The collected information was then shared with several educational institutes to see whether they shared the identified employment needs and competence requirements.

‘This report is of importance’, says John Baken, project manager at TKI Wind op Zee, ‘We learned that around 2,500 people are required during the construction phase of offshore wind farms in the next five years. In the operational phase, which takes up at least twenty years, around 320 full time jobs are required to perform maintenance and repair activities. Previously, we had no insight into the exact numbers for those activities.’

All these jobs require specific competences, tasks and responsibilities. One of the outcomes of the study is the need for a strong focus on English language skills on all levels. In addition, educational institutes should facilitate more special courses and trainings. It should align with the industry for this purpose.

Incidental or structural employment
‘As industry, we face imminent staff shortage. That’s why we were happy to contribute to this study, says David Pieter Molenaar, CEO at Siemens Gamesa. ‘We can provide concrete numbers and results from offshore wind projects that we worked on. We know exactly what has been built, how many hours were spent, and  how many and what type of professionals were required. This helps providing a clear picture of the employment requirements at future wind farms.’

Baken stresses that a clear distinction should be made between incidental and structural employment. ‘This is mapped out well in this report.’

Preparing for the future
The report recommends the industry to set up a human-capital plan to ensure continous influx of personnel. Baken explains the outcomes of the study should help educational institutes determine their educational strategy but that it also provides recommendations for government and industry. ‘It is now up to the government, industry and eductional institutes to set up a future plan.’

Read the full report here. Source: TKI Wind op Zee. IMage: Charlie Chesvick

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