By Pamela Nichol-Littlejohn, Director of People
Throughout 2023, we’re celebrating 10 years of ORE Catapult – shining a spotlight on success stories from the organisation, as well as the wider offshore renewable energy industry. This month we’re focusing on the people who have made these successes a reality.
Since 2013, ORE Catapult has grown from 43 employees to over 300 and this growth is set to continue as we forge ahead to 2030. The expansion we have seen here is mirrored in the wider offshore renewable industry, with experts suggesting the sector needs to increase its UK workforce from the current figure of 30,000, to 100,000 by 2030 to meet the Net Zero targets.
From award-winning supply chain support programmes and ground-breaking research, to world-leading testing and validation facilities, our people have truly been at the heart accelerating the creation and growth of UK companies in the offshore renewable energy sector.
Alongside our role in supporting the wider development of the sector, we also have a commitment to ensure we are managing our own growth in the best ways possible. One of the areas I’m most passionate about is the journey to improving our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies and practices. We encourage everyone to bring their whole selves to work to enable an environment that is supportive and collaborative, and where integrity is valued. As well as benefiting employees, we believe this approach also creates the conditions for the diversity of thought and innovation that allow us to perform at our best..
Our EDI actions have gone from strength to strength, and I’m thrilled to say, are award-winning! We have been recognized by Great Place to Work as a Best Workplace for both Women and Wellbeing, as a Gold Investors in People and Silver Investors in Young People organisation, and last year I proudly accepted the Equality and Inclusivity Award at the RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind Awards.
The wider offshore renewable energy industry is also raising its EDI profile, with targets including increasing the representation of women in the offshore wind workforce to at least a third by 2030 and setting a target of 9% of workforce made up of people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. It is this diversity of people and thought that will help make offshore renewable energy one of the most innovative, collaborative and ultimately successful industries in the UK this decade.
EDI also takes the form of encouraging all different levels of career paths. In 2020, the Offshore Wind Industry Council announced the target to employ at least 3,000 apprentices by the end of the decade. They will work in a wide variety of jobs from turbine technicians and maintenance engineers, to roles in management and finance.
Alongside this, we are supporting a new generation of people with skills in offshore renewables by educating young people about the importance and value of STEM subjects.
One of these STEM partnerships is just up the coast from me in Levenmouth, Scotland, where we work with Levenmouth Academy to directly support STEM provision. We have funded a STEM teacher to deliver extensive robotics, drone, and programme classes for students to inspire them to take up a career in offshore renewable energy in the future. As part of this partnership, we have also provided bursaries for students to attend university to study STEM subjects as well as sponsoring a student to attend the United Space School in Houston, Texas.
Having been at the Catapult for just over three years now, I’m thrilled to see the passion that our organisation and colleagues across the industry have for the development of offshore renewable energy and meeting our ambitious Net Zero targets. I truly believe that the offshore wind industry should act as a benchmark for other engineering and manufacturing sectors in terms of putting people at the heart of the industry growth.