Workforce to grow significantly to support UK hydrogen economy

The latest Hydrogen Skills Alliance report states that to support the UK hydrogen economy, the hydrogen workforce will need to grow more than previous predictions.

The Hydrogen Skills Workforce Assessment found that by 2030, more than 90,000 skilled workers will be needed in the UK hydrogen industry.

The assessment is based on a range of national and international sources, such as employer input, studies, workshops, and information from overseas hydrogen bodies, covering predicted demand in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and use.

Key actions are outlined in the report to address bottlenecks in the hydrogen sector, including skills and labour shortages, lack of clarity around hydrogen-specific roles, and lack of industry equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Justine Fosh, CEO of Cogent Skills, a founding member of the Hydrogen Skills Alliance, explained: “Understanding the future labour market is vital for the smooth transition to a net zero economy.

“The nascency of our hydrogen economy, featuring new and emerging technologies, presents a unique set of skills challenges that can only be addressed through cross-sector collaboration.

“Work to develop a comprehensive skills strategy is underway, and a better understanding of the skills and competencies required will increase workforce flexibility and support the development of new and exciting career pathways for those wishing to transition into the workforce from adjacent industries.”

Growing the UK hydrogen economy

The latest job assessment indicates that achieving the British Energy Security Strategy’s goal of producing 10GW of hydrogen by 2030 will necessitate a 10,000-fold increase in hydrogen production.

By 2030, the hydrogen economy is expected to support a significant workforce comprising 29,000 direct and 64,500 indirect jobs, utilising both existing and new skills.

Recommendations for the UK Hydrogen Skills Strategy

Several of the report’s key recommendations will be included in the UK Hydrogen Skills Strategy, set to be published later this year.

A dynamic modelling tool will be created to support hydrogen workforce planning. A hydrogen skills framework will be developed to identify the differences between hydrogen roles and those in other industries.

Transferable skills from oil and gas and other sectors will be mapped to the UK hydrogen industry. Training programmes will be established to prepare new workers for hydrogen roles.

The Apprenticeship Levy will be adjusted to facilitate workforce transition and hydrogen trainers will be upskilled to address training capacity issues.

A UK-wide green jobs campaign will boost sector awareness and recruitment, improving the current 8% uptake in hydrogen skills boot camps.

Outreach through the National Careers Service and schools will promote STEM subjects and careers. Government-backed incentives, scholarships, and mentorship programmes will be introduced to enhance industry diversity, especially for women and under-represented groups.

The UK hydrogen economy is poised for significant growth, necessitating a robust and skilled workforce to meet future demands.

By implementing these recommendations, including dynamic workforce planning, skills mapping, targeted training programmes, and enhanced diversity initiatives, the UK can build a resilient hydrogen workforce.

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