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Build & Sustainability

An inclusive approach to educating the talent of tomorrow

Equinor – alongside Dogger Bank joint venture partners – is building the world’s largest offshore windfarm. To help make it happen, the firm is undertaking a major skills development drive, with around 400 new roles created. Here, Tom Nightingale, Equinor’s North East stakeholder manager, explains more.

The recruitment drive has a dual purpose; to strengthen the Dogger Bank team but also support the local community.

General employment rates and salary levels are lower in the North of England.

But, by promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) learning and the career opportunities available from a local project like Dogger Bank, Equinor hopes to develop the aspirations of young people in the area.

Attracting experienced talent into the renewables industry isn’t difficult.

It’s a high-profile sector and considered a futureproof career at a time when many are concerned about the implications automation.

Our initiative also seeks to ensure a workforce that is diverse, inclusive and representative of the wider community.


  • Tom Nightingale, Equinor North East stakeholder manager


There are still fewer females working in the renewable energy sector and offshore wind than in many other industries, and the proportion of professionals joining from BAME ethnicities is even lower.

Equinor has invested in a broad range of initiatives to recruit from the broadest possible pool of talent at all levels.

The company’s focus combines community relations activities aimed at young females to promote the benefits of STEM-based careers, inclusive recruitment events aiming to attract professionals from other sectors with transferable skills, graduate recruitment/apprenticeship training programmes and special diversity, equity and inclusion recruitment campaigns.

Here are some of the initiatives:


Partnership with Stemettes

Working with South Tyneside Council and Stemettes, Dogger Bank has sponsored events to promote awareness about STEM subjects to young females in the area.


Graduate placement scheme

Equinor has a UK-wide graduate scheme with local universities including Newcastle represented.

Equinor also recently introduced apprenticeships in Newcastle focused on electrical engineering and port logistics and warehousing.

Our aim is to promote the opportunities available in the renewable energy sector to people at every stage in their learning journey, from primary school to university.

We have created new entry level roles to bring in a new generation of talent for our future energy needs and have offered 62 scholarships through the Dogger Bank community fund.


‘Coming home’ campaign for experienced professionals

A huge proportion of the people working at Dogger Bank are local.

An important element of the recruitment drive has been to inspire individuals to join the company from other industries because they want to ‘come home’ and be part of the exciting opportunities surrounding Dogger Bank.

For instance, many recent recruits have returned to the region after spending a large proportion of their career working in the oil and gas industry, based in places like Aberdeen.

It’s having a positive effect on local GDP and improving the work/life balance for specialists in the field who can be based closer to home.


Upskilling existing competencies

As the renewable energy sector grows, transition of skills will be integral to successfully upscaling projects and driving innovation.

Experience to date has highlighted the relevance of skills offered by former railway control room engineers, production and workforce planning, plus ex-military personnel.

There are many similarities shared with other offshore sectors – especially with regards to regulated health and safety, maintenance and operations protocols and the lean practices employed in manufacturing.


Personalised training plans

Everyone joining Equinor has an opportunity to sign up to a course covering every aspect of running an offshore wind farm, which ensures they can develop a consistent understanding from the outset. This is complemented with a dedicated individualised training plan that addresses any knowledge gaps.


BAME recruitment campaign

Just 20 per cent of people working in the offshore wind sector are female, and only five per cent come from BAME ethnic backgrounds.

To address this imbalance, Equinor has worked with a local recruitment agency to increase the pool of diverse candidates and identify local candidates suited to roles where there is less diversity.

The emphasis continues with graduate initiatives and a large share of the new trainees joining Equinor are female.


Tom Nightingale is North East stakeholder manager at Equinor, and will be sharing the company’s experiences recruiting talent for tomorrow’s renewable energy industry at Maritime Innovation Week 2023, which takes place between November 7–9.

Register for your free place at MIW23: