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SPOTLIGHT ON IRELAND


FEATURE SPONSOR


A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY


Ireland has potentially the best offshore wind resource in Europe, having over 10 times its land mass in territorial waters.


FORESIGHT


Organisations and investors have envisaged the island as a wind energy hub for many years, this is reflected in the prominent role Ireland will play in the proposed European Supergrid, a renewable energy project that aims to decarbonise Europe over the next four decades, with Ireland and the UK leading the way in the initial phases of construction.


SUPERGRID


The Supergrid is likely to build on the energy bridge between the UK and Ireland which will see Dublin alone try to export up to 5,000mw daily to the UK by 2020. This agreement could pave the way for the building of extensive clusters of wind farms throughout the Irish midlands and off the country’s coast to supply power directly to our European neighbours.


Not only will this help Ireland reach its 2020 target of producing 16% of its overall energy usage from renewable sources, but it will also provide crucial stimulus for a crisis hit economy. Ireland currently has a much greater renewable energy resource than it can currently utilise or that it can accept into a small island system, this prospect could mean proposed annual export revenue of up to 2.5 billion euro for 25 years as well as a potential 40,000 manufacturing jobs.


SKILLS SHORTAGE


However with this potential for job creation it is important to evaluate the long term future of the renewable labour market and with the proposals mentioned above at such an advanced stage the wind energy sector current threat is a shortage of relevant skills.


Roughly 2,200 people currently work in the Irish wind energy industry, these positions range between initial phase workers such as wind analyst and design engineers, to construction engineers and project engineers and after completion turbine technicians and maintenance engineers.


68% of the industry’s staff work in construction and this is expected to increase with the proposals infrastructure requirements. Furthermore every year there are significant numbers of high calibre professionals retiring from the renewable energy candidate pool and there is an ever increasing shortage of experienced professionals for key roles.


that sees highly skilled candidates entering the wind sector. Initial projects and courses are now available to try and attract skilled personnel to enter the wind industry in Ireland, with post grad courses now open for registration not only in Renewable Energy, but also Wind Energy Technology. The latter of these courses is aimed at people who are out of work with relevant engineering experience and are pursuing a career in the wind industry.


PROJECTS


There is no doubt that the Energy Bridge project and Supergrid project will be positive enhancement for a slow Irish economy, but to ensure that their full potential is met it is important that proper measures are in place to ensure that the skilled staff are available.


Cathy McCorry


Over the next 5-10 years around 25 per cent of the industries most experienced engineers are expected to retire and there is an insufficient amount of talent to replace the void they will leave in terms of skills and experience. This situation is anticipated to worsen even further to a severe shortage, when the extent of energy innovation and infrastructure replacement that is required is taken into account.


ATTRACTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE The renewables industry in general has always faced stiff competition from more traditional energy source providers, in particular the oil and gas industry who can offer large salaries and attractive bonus packages. For this reason the wind industry does not attract as many candidates from disciplines such as electrical, mechanical and design engineering.


In addition, the lack of large multinational wind organisations offering graduate programmes in comparison to its more affluent & developed energy division competitors, often resulting in these skilled people emigrating for career advancement.


ADDRESSING THE SITUATION It is now paramount that Ireland addresses this situation and works towards a future


76 www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


It is key that the decision makers recognise a need to replace the professionals leaving the industry with skilled, knowledgeable talent to ensure these skills and competencies are retained within the industry, in addition to having the correct retention strategies in place to ensure long term sustainability and growth.


RECRUITMENT SPECIALISTS Cathy McCorry, Managing Director of Xellient International Recruitment Specialists commented “The skill shortage is indeed a challenge for many companies and having the right mix of skills and experience is critical for their success. Xellient work closely with our clients to source skills and expertise from all over the world for positions they have. We specialise in sourcing these hard to find and sometimes rare skill sets and with our advanced talent mapping techniques we constantly track the skills and capabilities of active and passive job seekers on a broader scale to secure relevant talent. We are privileged to be supporting a number of local companies involved in the Renewable Energy Sector in utilising this data to source particular skills for crucial roles that ultimately will be imperative for their continued growth and success.”


Xellient International www.xellient.com


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