Mhairi Brown leads NRL’s technical and engineering recruitment operations across Scotland, working with renewable energy clients to place temporary and permanent workers into this emerging sector.

As more and more renewable energy projects commence development in Scotland and across the UK, with it brings requirements to engage an increased numbers of workers into renewable roles. With The Offshore Wind Industry Council estimating that 27,000 people will be employed in the UK’s offshore wind market by 2030 – accounting for more than three times the current workforce – there are multiple opportunities for skilled workers to cross over into renewable sectors.

The Global Wind Energy Council recently reported that 36% of the world’s offshore wind capacity is being controlled by the UK. In Scotland in particular, the government has made £200m of public funds available to support renewable energy – making the 12,000 kilometres of coastline and over 790 islands prime locations.

Renewable energy developments such as new wind farms and tidal wave projects provide good opportunities for fabrication and manufacturing companies in the region to easily extend their expertise into these markets, often requiring them to take on temporary contract workers to manage the increased workload. Whilst the specification for these parts may be different, the traditional methods of manufacturing remain the same – so businesses in the region should be exploring all available opportunities to tap into these green energy markets and not be deterred by the potential complexities of temporarily increasing their workload.

To successfully build and manage these new renewable energy projects however, the industry will need to recruit a large number of engineering roles over the next few years. With these green energy industries still being relatively new to the energy sector, companies often find a shortage of skilled candidates with direct experience. The need to interest and engage engineers from different fields to move into a career in renewable energy has already been recognised widely across the industry.

One solution is to look to the well-established oil and gas market to identify new talent. Whilst some niche oil and gas skills such as exploratory work may be difficult to cross match roles, there are a multitude of roles that can easily be transferred to renewable energy projects. When clients look to secure key functional roles such as project management, procurement and health & safety, whilst some adaptions made be needed, the experience gained from the oil and gas environment makes candidates an ideal match to make the sector move. For some professionals with predominant experience in another engineering discipline, businesses should consider how these areas of expertise can be modified to tap into an additional pool of candidates.

At NRL we believe clients need to look beyond project experience however, to identify those candidates with the right attitude and approach – fundamentally the best cultural fit. New skills and acronyms can be easily gained from training – but focusing on the characteristics of the individual and how they operate could bring added value to your business. By looking to a different industry to bring new talent into your business, companies will often benefit from a fresh prospective and new ideas.

When it comes to upskilling workers the answer may be in the apprentice levy. With renewable energy specific qualifications already available through the modern apprentice scheme, including a wind turbine operations and maintenance course – this provides a great platform to support career growth.

Wherever clients and recruitment agencies choose to search for the next generation of green energy experts, it’s promising to see that Scotland has a bright future in renewable energy.

To discuss your technical and engineering recruitment requirements give Mhairi and the NRL team a call on 01324 625 227 or email