November 7 2019 @ 9:37 by Steven Hugill
North East offshore wind companies have revealed plans to create around 1200 jobs to meet growing international demand.
Members of Energi Coast – the region’s offshore wind cluster – say they expect to bolster an existing 2500-strong workforce over the coming years amid increasing renewable projects.
The plans include delivering a three-fold increase in apprenticeships and doubling the recruitment of graduates.
Bosses say the ambitious targets are set against a promising backdrop of strong export demand and new market opportunities, such as the conversion of former oil and gas assets into offshore wind apparatus.
Managed and administered by business development organisation NOF, Energi Coast includes developers, ports, supply chain companies, academic institutions, innovation and research organisations and the region’s two Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Speaking ahead of the Offshore Wind North East conference and exhibition, which takes place in Newcastle today (Thursday, November 7), Joanne Leng MBE, deputy chair of Energi Coast, said companies are feeling increasingly confident in the sector, adding they expect demand to bolster turnover by at least ten per cent during the next five years.
“These figures demonstrate how North East England’s offshore wind cluster has evolved into a key player within the global offshore wind industry and the confidence that exists among the cluster companies to continue investing in their operations and support further job creation and expansion,” said Joanne.
“Offshore Wind North East provides the perfect platform for the region’s cluster to showcase the broad range of expertise, innovation and infrastructure North East England is providing the sector and how it can support emerging international markets.
“The conference and exhibition will also highlight the intense levels of collaboration that takes place within the cluster, which brings advantages to every stage of offshore wind farm development and is enabling the region to be recognised for its capabilities on a global stage,” added Joanne, who is also NOF deputy chief executive.
Originally established in 2011 as a steering group, Energi Coast has undergone a major reconstitution and expansion as a result of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal and is now one of eight offshore wind clusters around the UK working to promote the sector.