Ongoing Project

Promoting Equity Diversity and Inclusion in Offshore Wind Energy

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub

Project summary

The Challenge

The offshore wind sector lacks diversity. This limits opportunities and disadvantages the sector by restricting the pool of talent engaged.

The Approach

Through the Supergen ORE Hub and other funding streams we aim to promote careers in offshore renewable energy to a diverse range of people.

The Outcome

Improving diversity and inclusion is a long-term challenge but our work is impacting at key stages in individuals’ lives and is being recognised.

Lead academics

Funded by

Project partners

The Challenge

Employment in the offshore wind industry is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years with a projection of over 100,000 employees in the sector by the end of the decade. Currently women make up only around 20% of the workforce and representation of ethnic minorities is also well below the national average. Through the offshore wind sector deal, the industry committed to increasing diversity in the sector but it faces challenges in attracting diverse talent into the sector and ensuring individuals remain in the sector and reach their full potential. While many organisations are working hard to increase diversity, there is little evidence of what approaches are effective and can be scaled up.  

Leaky pipeline graphic showing proportion of women in renewables at various career stages
Proportion of women in renewables at various career stages
two people stood at a whiteboard

"Less than 5% of senior roles in the offshore wind industry are taken by women."

The full research team

The Approach

To understand the current status of diversity in the offshore renewable energy (ORE) sector (and more widely in engineering) and to gain insights into the approaches being tried to increase diversity, we undertook a scoping study Equality-Diversity-and-Inclusion-in-Engineering_Full-Report_web.pdf ( which identified a roadmap towards positive change.

A key finding from this report was that actions to promote diversity and inclusion are often uncoordinated and short lived and that a more joined up approach would be more effective. We are therefore working with a wide range of partners to align activities and ensure mutual learning. This includes the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) Diversity group, charged with delivering targets set in the sector deal. The lessons learnt through this process are also being applied more widely through the IDRIC project working across industrial decarbonisation, which faces similar challenges in developing a diverse workforce.

In addition, the report identified the importance of addressing all stages of the ‘leaky pipeline’ of talent into the sector. We have therefore developed activities to promote engagement with the ORE sector for school age children and their parents/carers. One of which was publication of a new children’s adventure book to communicate offshore renewable energy, developed with Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub. We have also employed unconventional approaches such as the use of music/dance/video in the Turning the Tide project, to promote engagement in the offshore wind sector.

HUBS Josh Morablanco at Siemens Gamesa 01
“The importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion cannot be emphasised enough – the future of the renewable energy sector depends upon it. As the sector matures rapidly, there is an opportunity to shape its development and embed better EDI practice for the long term. It is in all our best interests to promote diversity; eliminate barriers to participation; and create a culture in which equality of opportunity is a priority for all”

Prof Deborah Greaves OBE

Director of the Supergen ORE Hub Head of School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (SECaM), University of Plymouth

The Impact

The reach of the activities undertaken to promote greater EDI has been considerable. The results of this research are being recognised by the sector including through the Offshore Wind Industry Council’s (OWIC) best practice guide on diversity and inclusion: BPG 2021 Introduction | OWIC

Our evaluation of Turning the Tide shows that this kind of arts-based engagement is a good way of increasing knowledge about STEM careers and EDI issues in the offshore and renewables sectors, and that including stories of successful measures to improve EDI outcomes is an important part of raising positive awareness about these issues. Visitors to the project’s exhibition told us that using art to convey messages about STEM careers and subjects was very effective, at presenting both the challenges and inspirational opportunities for future generations to consider careers in STEM sectors.  

Over 200 copies of the children’s book Gaia’s Energy Adventure! have been distributed either directly to families or via organisations using the books as gifts. In addition to this, copies of the book were shared with members of the public in the green zone at COP26, have been used at public engagement events, such as the Green Man Festival and 200 copies of the book have also been donated to 66 primary schools across the City of Plymouth. In addition, 30 copies were donated to every early-stage primary school in Orkney by Fred Olsen-related companies.