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A new report developed and delivered by Opergy Limited in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOW CoE) has been published. This forecasts that there could be an active Floating Offshore Wind (FOW) workforce of between 22,000 and 67,000 by 2040.
The recently published ‘Floating Offshore Wind People, Skills and Vocations’ project maps out the key skills and jobs required in order to develop, deliver, operate, and maintain a FOW wind farm. The report uses this information to future-cast the industry’s people, skills, and vocation requirements needed in the UK by 2040 for a range of deployment scenarios. 
The report also assesses the current and projected future access to the skills needed. By using the information, it can be determined where skills access could be constrained in future and the knock-on effects for the timely and cost-effective delivery of all FOW projects. 
Key shortfalls in skills and jobs have been identified in a number of areas. This includes development and consenting, project management, electrical and high voltage electrical systems (including cable jointing), and a range of vocations and skills associated with fabrication and advanced manufacturing. More broadly there is a shortfall in digital skills across all areas and, to a lesser extent, most engineering disciplines. 
The importance of minimising barriers for transitioning skills from the traditional oil and gas sector and military to the floating offshore wind sector has also been highlighted in the report. This is particularly relevant to marine operations and maintenance activities. 
The report identifies a number of opportunities to address the challenges ahead. This includes the establishment of dedicated training centres close to ports and fabrication facilities (similar to approaches used in oil and gas and more recently nuclear) and accelerating the work to efficiently transition workers from oil and gas to offshore renewables. In particular the areas of subsea engineering and marine operations are highlighted.
The study also calls for working closely with existing offshore wind skills programmes to ensure the sector attracts the best young talent alongside drawing in key skills from the military. 
It is also noted that whilst this report provides a clear understanding of the skills and vocations required in the FOW industry, further work would provide finer details on the potential people, skills and vocations shortages that could arise and how best to address these, particularly on a regional level.
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