Teesside University and Sofia ink skills partnership


Teesside University and innogy’s Sofia offshore wind farm have signed an agreement with the aiming of working together to build local skills and capabilities to equip students for careers in the offshore wind sector.

Through a structured partnership, Teesside University will help
Sofia ensure that necessary skills will be available throughout the wind farm’s lifetime and that where feasible that those skills will be developed locally. The two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out how they will work together on joint initiatives, training, educations, skills development and creating employment opportunities.

Sofia's Senior Consents Manager, Kim Gauld-Clark, said: “We look forward to working with the University on initiatives such as curriculum development, delivering offshore wind STEM-related master classes, offering student mentoring and internships, sponsoring directed study projects and taking part in university careers fairs and events.”

Teesside University’s work with
Sofia will be led by its School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies which has an established track record of working together with industry to help companies fulfil their potential through graduate talent and relevant research expertise.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Kim Gauld-Clark on behalf of Sofia and from Teesside University, by Siobhan Fenton, Associate Dean (Enterprise and Business Engagement) in the University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies.

Siobhan Fenton said: “The offshore wind industry is a rapidly developing sector which provides a wide range of opportunities for collaboration, employment and skills development.

“Sofia’s project is extremely ambitious and we are delighted to be working alongside them as the wind farm develops – providing additional opportunities for our students and graduates and combining our joint expertise for the greater benefit of the region.

It is expected that highly-skilled jobs in the UK’s offshore wind sector will almost triple from today’s figure of around 9,000 to almost 27,000 by 2030, both directly with developers such as innogy but across the UK supply chain so it is vital that educational institutions work closely with the industry to ensure the skills are available.”

The consented
Sofia wind farm, located 195 km off the UK coast on Dogger Bank in the North Sea, is in relatively shallow water depths of 21 to 36 metres. The final investment decision for Sofia is expected to be made during 2020, when contracting agreements with prospective supply chain partners will be completed. The external financing process will then be finalised.

Onshore works are scheduled to begin in 2021, with offshore construction getting underway from 2022. First power is due to be generated in 2024/25 and on the current schedule, the wind farm would be fully operational by the end of 2026.

Once in operation, the total amount of power
Sofia could generate would be enough to provide almost 1.2 million average UK homes with their annual electricity needs. The planned investment volume is in the region of £3 billion. Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is 100% owned by innogy SE. innogy will review all options regarding the ownership and financing structure of the project in order to maximise value for the company and shareholders.

innogy is also developing the 857MW
Triton Knoll offshore wind farm 32km off the coast of Lincolnshire in the east of England. The wind farm will enter offshore construction in the first half of 2020 with first power anticipated in 2021. Once fully operational, it will be capable of generating renewable energy to power the equivalent of over 800,000 typical UK households.

For more information on wind farm developments,
click here. Alternatively, click here for our interactive map of offshore wind farms, infrastructure and ports.