Workforce and skills requirements in Scotland’s onshore wind industry

The purpose of this study was to:

  • identify the range of skills needed by the onshore wind industry to increase onshore wind capacity to a minimum of 20 GW by 2030
  • inform the enhancement of skills and training provision to meet future sector needs.

Researchers interviewed Scottish onshore wind stakeholders and developed a workforce model.


  • To meet the 2030 ambition, the workforce serving the onshore wind sector will need to increase from around 6,900 FTE (full time equivalent) in 2024 to a peak of around 20,500 FTE in 2027. Over 90% of these roles will be in construction and installation of wind farms. These job opportunities will only be available if estimates regarding the forthcoming onshore wind project pipeline materialise.
  • Overall, stakeholders felt that those working in the sector have the right skills, but there are skilled workforce shortages. In the short term, there is a need for more people to join the sector and for individuals from other sectors to be reskilled/ upskilled. Without this, the sector faces challenges in delivering new projects on time, maintaining existing wind farms and maximising economic and environmental benefits.
  • Not addressing skill shortages is likely to have a severe impact on the 2030 ambition. By 2027, the model developed in this study predicts that, on average, four times more FTEs will be required for construction and installation than in 2024. Within this, five times more civil contractors will be required. More than 46% of these individuals will be required to build wind farms in Highland and Dumfries and Galloway, regions where stakeholders have highlighted is already difficult to recruit individuals. For operations and maintenance the figures are smaller and the timeframes longer: around 2.5 times as many roles will be required in 2030 than in 2024. The regions with the highest requirement, of around 37%, are again Highland and Dumfries and Galloway.
  • There will be significant shortages in technical roles, particularly high voltage engineers and wind turbine technicians. Across Scotland, FTE for electricity grid connections will need to increase from 1,100 in 2024 to 4,500 in 2027, a 400% increase. The number of wind turbine technician FTE will need to increase from around 465 in 2024 to almost 1,200 in 2030, a 258% increase. These will affect project development and operations if they are not resolved.
  • The scarcity of skilled planners and specialist environmental consultants is set to continue. An average of 100 FTE planners and 434 FTE environmental consultants is estimated to be required across Scotland each year to enable wind farm developments between 2024 and 2030.
  • Digital skills for data analysis and drone inspections need to grow to improve turbine performance monitoring.
  • There will be a need for diverse skillsets within the sector, including project management, stakeholder engagement and regulatory compliance.

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