4th October 2023
Shaping the Future of Maritime Industry
Strategies for Building a Diverse, Inclusive, and Skilled Workforce at Dogger Bank Wind Farm
Equinor, together with Dogger Bank Joint Venture Project Partners, is building the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The company is currently involved in a major skills development drive that takes a true, holistic approach to ensuring it can access the talent pool needed to achieve strategic objectives. This project has resulted in one of the North East’s biggest recruitment campaigns and created around 400 new roles, working both directly at Equinor and via the wider supply chain. It’s a huge win for the region.
This recruitment drive has a dual purpose: to strengthen the Dogger Bank team and also support the local community. General employment rates and salary levels are lower in the North of England. By promoting STEM learning and the career opportunities available through a local project like Dogger Bank, Equinor hopes to develop the aspirations of young people in the area and help them build a bright future.
Equinor's Recruitment Strategies for Dogger Bank Wind Farm
Attracting experienced talent into the renewables industry isn’t difficult. It’s a high-profile sector and is considered a future-proof career at a time when many are concerned about the implications of AI or automation. Equinor’s initiative also seeks to ensure that the company’s workforce is diverse, inclusive, and representative of the wider community. There are still fewer females working in the renewable energy sector and offshore wind than in many other industries, and the proportion of professionals joining from BAME ethnicities is even lower. As champions of diversity and the benefits it offers Equinor and the renewables industry, the team at Dogger Bank is keen to influence change and reverse the trend positively.
Equinor has invested in a broad range of initiatives to recruit from the broadest possible pool of talent at all levels in the company. The company’s focus combines community relations activities aimed at young females to promote the benefits of STEM-based careers, inclusive recruitment events aiming to attract professionals from other sectors with transferable skills, graduate recruitment and apprenticeship training programs, and special DE&I recruitment campaigns. It’s all part of a long-term strategy to ensure that Equinor is Fit for the Future. Here are some of the initiatives:
Partnership with Stemettes
Working with South Tyneside Council and Stemettes, Dogger Bank has sponsored events to promote awareness about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects among young females in the area. This aims to increase young females’ confidence to pursue careers in STEM, showcase the many opportunities available, and inspire them to get involved with renewable energy.
Graduate placement scheme
To support university students, Equinor has a UK-wide graduate scheme with local universities including Newcastle represented. Equinor also recently introduced apprenticeships in Newcastle focused around Electrical Engineering and Port Logistics and Warehousing.
We sometimes receive hundreds of applicants for experienced roles and recognise it can be harder for young people to join our business in these roles due to the limited number of available vacancies. Our aim is to promote the opportunities available in the renewable energy sector to people at every stage of their learning journey, from primary school to university. We have created new entry-level roles to bring in a new generation of talent for our future energy needs and have offered 62 scholarships through the Dogger Bank community fund with our partners, worth £5,000 each to students from across the North of England.
‘Coming home’ campaign for experienced professionals
A huge proportion of the people working at Dogger Bank are local, and Equinor believes it is very important to create local ownership around the project and to celebrate the positivity and attention this brings. An important element of the recruitment drive has been to inspire individuals to join the company from other industries because they want to ‘come home’ and be part of the exciting opportunities surrounding Dogger Bank. For instance, many recent recruits have returned to the region after spending a large proportion of their career working in the oil and gas industry in places like Aberdeen. It’s having a positive effect on local GDP and improving the work-life balance for specialists in the field who can be based closer to home.
Upskilling existing competencies
As the renewable energy sector grows, the transition of skills will be integral to successfully upscaling projects and driving innovation. Equinor looks for very specific competencies when recruiting for certain roles on the wind farm. Offshore wind, and Dogger Bank in particular, focuses on brand-new technology, with many firsts including advanced wind turbines and HVDC technology never before utilised on an offshore wind farm in the UK.
Experience to date has highlighted the relevance of skills offered by former railway control room engineers, production and workforce planning, and ex-military personnel. There are many similarities shared with other offshore sectors, especially with regard to regulated health and safety, maintenance and operations protocols, and the lean practices employed in manufacturing. For instance, extending asset lifetimes is a key strategy for Dogger Bank, so utilising best practices from other sectors is essential. The goal is to upskill as an organisation, not simply as individuals.
Personalised training plans
Everyone joining Equinor has the opportunity to sign up for a course covering every aspect of running an offshore wind farm, which ensures they can develop a consistent understanding from the outset. This is complemented by a dedicated, individualised training plan that addresses any knowledge gaps and ensures essential compliance training is provided.
BAME recruitment campaign
Diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I) is a big issue in the offshore wind industry. Just 20% of people working in the sector are female, and only 5% come from BAME ethnic backgrounds. To address this imbalance, Equinor has worked with a local recruitment agency to increase the pool of diverse candidates and identify local candidates suited to roles where there is less diversity. The emphasis on DE&I continues with graduate initiatives, and a large share of the new trainees joining Equinor are female.
Tom Nightingale, the North East Stakeholder Manager at Equinor, is thrilled to be part of the upcoming Maritime Innovation Week 2023, an exclusive online-only event taking place from November 7th to 9th. During this groundbreaking event, he will passionately share Equinor's invaluable experiences in recruiting talent for the future of the renewable energy industry.
Tom will be a key speaker in the 'Innovating for Net Zero' panel debate, where he'll delve into innovative strategies that Equinor has pioneered to prepare its workforce for the challenges of tomorrow. This is an incredible opportunity to gain insights from a leader in the industry and discover how Equinor is contributing to a sustainable and net-zero future.
Don't miss out on this unique opportunity! Register your interest now to secure your spot at Maritime Innovation Week 2023 and join Tom Nightingale and other industry experts in shaping the future of maritime innovation.