Offshore wind energy - the future of East Anglia?
Lovell said, "It is great news for East Anglia's economy that the Dudgeon and Galloper offshore wind farms have announced their intention to establish their O&M operational bases in the region - Dudgeon at Great Yarmouth and Galloper at Lowestoft. Currently, however, there are insufficient suitably qualified engineers and technicians in the region to support these businesses' needs, and there is a problem in attracting such personnel to live and work in East Anglia. And when it comes to IT staff, all too often they seem to prefer the buzz of the business and science parks of Norwich and Cambridge, and the lifestyles offered by such environments."
Lovell continued, "The long term solution is for our educational establishments to encourage students to choose careers in engineering. EEEGR is playing a pivotal role here through its & lsquo;Skills for Energy' programme, but as it has to build momentum, it does not provide skills today. So in the meantime, Cooper Lomaz is targeting and transferring other skills sets, including ex-forces engineers and those contemplating an engineering career outside of their traditional industry sector.
"However there is tremendous competition for well qualified engineers from general manufacturing and the automotive and aerospace industries. Cooper Lomaz is using leading edge technology to identify talent pools, but graduates must then be persuaded to come to the region. Often graduates stay in the area where they studied, but at the moment there are too few courses locally for that to happen here.
"The GROW: Offshore Wind industry advice service estimates that up to 30,000 jobs will be created in offshore wind over the next 8 years. I believe many of those could be based in East Anglia, so we need to work together to make sure that the region does not miss out on this once in a lifetime economic opportunity."