Fit for Offshore Renewables (F4OR) is a unique service to help the UK supply chain get ready to bid for work in the offshore renewable energy sector. It aims to support the development of an increasingly competent, capable, and competitive UK offshore renewable energy supply chain – maximising opportunity, both domestically and globally.
There’s a big push for UK businesses to be part of the offshore renewable energy supply chain to support economic growth. Due to rapid expansion, particularly in offshore wind, more innovative businesses will be needed to provide the services and products required to support increased demand.
ORE Catapult started the F4OR programme over three years ago to support companies entering the offshore renewable energy supply chain and win business.
The programme is designed for established businesses with ten or more employees and with a turnover of at least £1m. There isn’t a need for companies to have prior experience in the offshore renewable energy sector, but they must have identified it as a strategic opportunity for growth. Participating companies range from organisations with no offshore renewable energy experience, such as those currently focused on oil or gas who want to transfer to renewables, to established suppliers that want to excel in the industry.
Programme benefits include:
To receive ‘granted’ status, a company must prove they have the knowledge, capability, and competence to meet the standard required to do business in the sector. The status shows potential customers that they are a trusted company with attitude to succeed
Andrew Stormonth-Darling, F4OR’s Programme Manager, said:
“There is now a massive and ever-growing demand for competent and reliable UK businesses to form part of the offshore renewable energy supply chain. With such a large number of projects in development, we need more businesses than ever to meet that demand.
“We can only achieve the rapid expansion we need with a healthy, strong and sustainable supply chain, which is local to the projects being built. That’s what this programme is doing – it’s helping to bring in new entrants to expand the supply chain and ensure UK companies are as competitive as possible.”
F4OR has supported 82 companies UK-wide in the last three years and over 30 significant new business contracts have been secured. Companies experienced an 85% average uplift in turnover after taking part in the programme and 45 have successfully received ‘granted’ status.
Discover more about the programme and how to apply at Fit for Offshore Renewables.
Here is a real-life case study from one of the companies involved in the F4OR programme.
The SMS Group – Lowestoft
The SMS Group is a ship repairer, marine engineering services provider and turn-key interior outfitter that is now transitioning into the renewables and energy space in East Anglia.
The F4OR programme helped the company mature at a more advanced pace into the renewables sector, facilitated valuable connections in the industry and helped direct the company’s business strategy.
SMS Group said:
“We’ve clearly benefitted from the F4OR initiative; as a business, we’re better networked in the space, having the credibility to develop new and existing relationships. We’re on a measurable journey of self-improvement, and, perhaps most importantly, this definitive diversification is positively impacting our bottom line. We’re obviously also seeing increased awareness of The SMS Group, not only locally, but also nationally – and most interestingly, we’re being referenced in the renewables and energy space, as well as the marine space.”
Overall, the programme has resulted in real, quantifiable successes. SMS Group have moved into a service and maintenance type of contract to support energy-specific floating assets. They have also started to explore support of offshore wind turbines from a survey, repair, and maintenance perspective. Recruitment is on the rise and the headcount is growing. They estimate the renewables and energy sector will account for 15% of their sales by the end of the trading year, increasing to 25% in the next 24 months.
Over 45 fantastic companies have already been supported by F4OR in the North East of Scotland, and we are delighted to announce we have secured further funding for a third F4OR cohort from the Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).
The F4OR programme is looking for 20 companies that are focused on entering the offshore renewables market. Companies must be based in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire or Moray to be eligible and should have 10 or more direct employees and a turnover of at least £1 million.
F4OR is a key part of ETZ Ltd’s two phase support initiative alongside a challenge fund that will deliver capital investment grants to help North East Scotland energy supply chain companies develop and deliver their low carbon business ambitions.
The closing date was 6 February 2023.