The European wind industry faces a severe skills shortage of around 5500 appropriately qualified staff per year. This shortfall could climb to 18,000 by 2030 - nearly 5% of the entire wind industry workforce - if numbers of suitable workers don't increase.
The warning comes in a report to be published by the EU's Wind Energy Technology Platform (TPWind), based on research by renewable energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan.
"At a time of rising unemployment, it makes no sense that the wind industry cannot find the skilled personnel it urgently needs", commented Jacopo Moccia, Head of Policy Analysis at the European Wind Energy Association, which coordinates and hosts the TPWind Secretariat.
"There is a real risk of a shortage of suitably skilled workers. Well over half of the shortfall in new workers in 2030 could be in operations and maintenance. Engineers are in desperately short supply and the problem will get far worse unless action is taken," said Andrew Garrad, Chairman of GL Garrad Hassan.
"Targeted training courses must be created and graduate numbers from those courses increased, so that the sector can meet its staff needs and continue to provide jobs and revenue in today's tough economic climate," commented Henning Kruse, Chairman of TPWind.
The recommendations from the upcoming report, "European Wind Energy Training Needs, Opportunities and Recommendations," were presented at EWEA's 2013 Annual Event. They include:
- Emphasise Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths ('STEM') skills in vocational training
- Increase industry input into academic courses
- More graduates of wind energy generalist courses
- Greater emphasis on training in operations and maintenance
- The harmonization of Vocational Education and Training across the EU
The main findings are available here. The full report will be published later this year.