Leaders in the environmental industry took part in a roundtable this morning to discuss the future of renewable energy.
Representing both ourselves and our energy PR clients, Aspectus joined the ensuing twitter debate, which covered many of the usual topics – the energy mix, targets, shale gas (following a question from The Guardian’s Fiona Harvey), investment for emerging technologies, policy and Feed in Tariffs, microgeneration – plus a whole lot more.
But one of the most interesting issues raised was the acute skills shortage the energy sector faces. One of the panellists had mentioned that the offshore wind sector was so competitive that companies are constantly poaching staff from each other. And David Spencer-Percival, of Spencer Ogden Renewables, pointed out that it’s not just the renewables sector, but the whole of the energy industry that suffers as a result.
Moreover, Spencer-Percival warned that the problem is only going to get worse, as 20 per cent of oil and gas executives are due to retire over the course of the next few years.
The outcome was a call for Government to review curriculums now, right down to secondary school level, and to encourage pupils to pursue subjects that will lead to careers in energy and engineering. We will have to wait and see how this call for action is answered by the UK’s education ministers.