X-Academy boosts bp and EnBW Scottish Morven offshore wind project

Five secondees from the industry-led skills organisation, X-Academy, have been handpicked by joint venture (JV) partners, bp and EnBW, to support the Morven offshore windfarm, located off the east coast of Scotland.
X-Academy boosts bp and EnBW Scottish Morven offshore wind project
Courtesy of X-Academy.

As the next major step since the partnership committed more than £1 million to X-Academy in a five-year deal, Morven is creating a number of new roles that xccelerators from the initiative will step into.

The award-winning X-Academy is at a transformative stage as it looks across industry to scale-up its operations following a successful pilot year and plan its growth across the globe.

Through its Industry Enablement Hub, xccelerators have already worked with a number of industry partners, including Net Zero Technology Centre, contributing to several projects across their energy integration programme, and delivered a key white paper to the Scottish government providing their unique vision of the energy sector in Scotland.

X-Academy’s ambition to reskill workers for the energy transition comes amid reports that it is estimated that to meet energy transition targets around 40,000 people are required to plug the skills gap that exists by 2030.

“Having just celebrated our first year, X-Academy has been met with an incredible reaction from the industry” said Peter Tipler, managing director of X-Academy. “Our group of 26 willing and able xccelerators have been involved in more than 25 projects and five external secondments – all of which have been aligned to our core belief of prioritising meaningful impact. Having been in close communication with the team at bp and EnBW, we know how much they’ve been looking forward to welcoming xccelerators to the project. Our skills programme has achieved great success in the initial 12 months, and organisations are excited to become a part of it, and the journey our cohorts are on.”

Morven, awarded in the 2022 ScotWind leasing round, is an approximately 860 square kilometre lease, located around 60 kilometres off the coast of Aberdeen. The consortium partner’s E1 lease is in an advantaged area, allowing the partners to develop it as a fixed-bottom offshore wind project with a potential generating capacity of around 2.9 gigawatts, sufficient to power the equivalent of more than three million homes when operational.

The project aims to go further than generating wind power with investments including significant expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Scotland, Scottish shipbuilding, port redevelopment and green hydrogen production. Together, it’s expected to support up to £10 billion of investment in support of offshore wind and Scotland’s energy transition.

The secondees, Isabelle Pouncey, Duncan Swanney, Sharon Reji, Louise Davies and Robert Hughes, will be split across four teams. They will join the environment/consents, procurement, training and skills and project management divisions, and will be offered on-the-job-learning for a six-month rotation with Morven. Following the initial group, the Morven team will then welcome new xccelerators to the project.

“As early adopters of X-Academy, bp and EnBW recognised the value we could add to its project and placed a huge amount of trust in the skills programme, and the level of talent that this would attract” Mr Tipler added. “As five of the xcellerators move to bp’s headquarters in Aberdeen, we’re keen to see how the ScotWind consortium will realise their plans for developing skills and opening up new doors for the energy transition. Morven really is a benchmark project for X-Academy and shows how it can support vital new energy projects as they come to fruition.”

Backed also by industry not-for-profit ETZ Ltd, the skills programme has already shown the potential that this type of shared peer and industry learning can spawn.

As a professional development programme, X-Academy is about bringing like-minded people together, that possess their own unique skills sets and experience and promotes cross-learning working, to collaborate on industry solutions or expand existing ideas that have real potential.

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