Wood Thilsted plays an important role for the future of offshore wind in the US. Although not directly impacting job creation in the way developers and fabricators do, WT’s consultancy work has a significant ‘indirect’ influence on job creation. WT’s data analysis and recommendations contribute highly to determining what/how/when a project may progress, meaning that depending on their recommendation, there will be considerable impact on job creation and the local workforce for offshore wind in the US.

As a global offshore wind engineering consultancy designing the global energy transition, Wood Thilsted is well-equipped to offer valuable expertise on the most effective ways to scale the US workforce.

We spoke with WT’s Dennis Hindhede, Chief Consultant based in our US office, about the most effective approaches for scaling the local workforce to achieve project delivery in the US. Dennis presented WT’s 3-tier approach on ways the US can bolster its workforce, building on existing knowledge and reducing risks with ‘lessons learnt’ from EU markets.

Harnessing expertise from across the pond

For global companies, teams in emerging markets are bolstered by harnessing expertise from other locations across the world. Although WT employed key figures from the industry in the US to set up the team initially, President of WT USA, Matt Palmer, then sought to re-locate existing, experienced employees from European destinations to make the move across the pond to support in US expansion. That’s where Dennis came in…

“To harness WT’s global expertise and successes to apply and adapt these to the emerging market in the US really was a no-brainer. When I was approached for the role in the US, it presented an exciting opportunity for me to grow a team whilst exploring how our successes in Europe and the APAC region could support a fast-evolving market in the States. And it offered a great adventure for the family too!”

With a push for cleaner and lower cost energy across the world, working within the fast-paced industry of offshore wind means there is a lot of pressure to be constantly evolving and improving, whilst racing against time to achieve net zero targets. Although no market is exactly the same, experience in more advanced markets is highly beneficial and WT’s experience adapting to new and emerging markets means similarities and lessons learnt can be factored in during the early phases of a project, mitigating risks and eliminating common mistakes.

This has become evident with WT’s project work and proven success within the APAC region, enabling effective optimisation for the best solution by adjusting key parameters to account for any unexpected challenges that may arise.

Hiring engineers from other industries

Wood Thilsted's European offices have attracted experts looking for a change in direction with backgrounds in civil engineering or oil and gas. The US should encourage similar career moves from engineers with transferrable skillsets from different industries to strengthen the local workforce for project delivery and support government targets.

“The skillset is out there, it’s just about changing the mindset.”

To strengthen the local workforce for project delivery and to support government targets, the industry needs to begin attracting experts from different disciplines otherwise there is going to be a struggle to achieve what has been set out to be delivered. However, it’s not just the skillset that is in demand. Those wishing to make the change will notice many similarities in the process but will need to consider a different mindset as offshore wind engineering requires a shift to serial production. The sheer scale of production to achieve 30GW by 2030 means everything needs to be meticulously thought-out and optimised at scale.

WT’s tailor-made offshore wind foundation software has become ground-breaking within this process, enabling WT to deliver an added-value service to clients with a highly optimised design that has been able to change and adapt in real-time to differing parameters to deliver the best result. For more information on this, ask one of the team at IPF or watch this space when we’ll be revealing more about our software next month.

Encouraging a future in offshore wind

For Wood Thilsted, people and planet go hand in hand, and that’s why we take such pride in our people. WT has achieved great success in our outreach work with Universities and Research Centres, building strong relationships that have provided WT with a platform to educate and engage with young engineers, encouraging a bright future in offshore wind.

“Our experience working with Universities in Europe has been fundamental in our global expansion and growth to support the global energy transition. This now needs to be reflected across the pond, as it presents an excellent opportunity to reach engineers early in their careers and give an insight into the world of offshore wind. At WT, we have found this is an extremely effective method and will be a great way to ensure we are setting up for success in the US, as quite frankly, these young engineers are the future of offshore wind.”

For the steepest learning curve, integrating graduates into big projects provides an invaluable experience, providing an opportunity for young engineers to apply their academic knowledge to real life scenarios. On top of this, physically being in the office on placement surrounded by other graduates and more senior experts provides the perfect environment to thrive and grow, this is why we place such an importance on our graduate recruitment.

For more information, Dennis is due to the speaking on a panel surrounding this topic at this years IPF, organised by The Business Network for Offshore Wind, and taking place from 28 to 30 March at the Baltimore Convention Center.

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