From school benches to wind farm professionals: students explore career opportunities in the wind industry at WindEurope 2024 | WindEurope
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From school benches to wind farm professionals: students explore career opportunities in the wind industry at WindEurope 2024

The wind sector is growing rapidly. By 2030 it will employ over 500,000 people in Europe, up from 300,000 jobs today. The sector must address the huge challenge of finding additional skilled workers in this short time frame. At the WindEurope Annual Event 2024 more than 500 students registered for a 3-day student programme to learn more about job opportunities in the sector. The student programme aims to generate positive awareness of the diverse job opportunities in wind. It aims to accelerate the entry of interested students into the wind energy workforce.

For the first time this year the WindEurope Annual Event student programme ran over all three conference days. 500 Spanish and international students joined wind industry representatives in Bilbao. In different learning and networking sessions the students could ask young and experienced industry professionals about chances and career paths in the wind industry.

The absence of essential skills can impede wind energy projects and in the long run prevent the EU from reaching its energy and climate targets. It is crucial that we bridge the gap between industry and universities. Bilbao is the perfect place to foster collaboration between the two.

In panels and discussion rounds students learned about the talents and skills required in the wind sector. Working in wind energy is not only about manufacturing turbines. From marine biologist to project planner and from offshore diver to steel structure specialist or software manager – there is a wide range of jobs in offshore and onshore. It’s not just for academics and graduates with higher education. The wind sector offers opportunities for students with non-academic background and non-academic training programmes. During a tour of the exhibition floor the students met different wind energy companies and learned about the latest technologies and innovations in onshore and offshore wind.

Oliver Wykes, WindEurope’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “The EU increased its 2030 renewable energy target to 42.5%. This expansion will mean hundreds of thousands of additional green jobs. Today the wind sector employs 300,000 people. In less than 7 years we will need to create more than 200,000 new jobs – and find the talents to fill these positions. Re-skilling from other sectors such as coal mining and oil & gas will play a big role, but students and younger generations are an important part of the needed talent pool. They are the future of our workforce that will drive the energy transition. We have a responsibility to support our industry to deliver. This student programme is one of the initiatives we are undertaking to tackle this challenge. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the industry and inspire those who have the required skills but have not considered working in the sector. And it is of course an important platform for those who have specialised their studies or chosen to work in wind for them to meet their future employers.”

José Ignacio Hormaeche, General Manager at the Basque Energy Cluster, said: “The WindEurope annual event in Bilbao will provide us a unique framework to engage students and young professionals in one of the most exciting and promising working environments they can find today: the wind sector. From the Basque Energy Cluster we are looking forward to sharing with all participants the professional opportunities and sense of purpose that our companies offer in the ‘Industry for the wind future'”.

The new WindEurope Skills and Education Working Group held its first-ever meeting in Bilbao. Composed of industry experts the working group will oversee WindEurope activities on Skills and Education and continue WindEurope’s work in:

Check out our new webpage dedicated to skills and education.