20th July 2022

Hydrogen Skills Gather Pace


The UK’s energy sector is evolving rapidly to deliver the ambitious net-zero targets outlined by the UK and devolved governments. By building on the UK’s track record as a world class centre for oil, gas and offshore wind, there is considerable scope to turn the country into a global energy powerhouse.

Green and blue hydrogen present attractive low-carbon alternatives to traditional fuels, offering significant opportunities to reduce emissions from industry, transport, power and heat. BEIS analysis suggests hydrogen could make up 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050. The UK Government’s Hydrogen Strategy (August 2021) commits to ramping up production and usage, setting a target of 5GW low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. This is reinforced by the Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Policy (December 2020) which sets its sights higher, aiming to produce 25GW by 2045 establishing Scotland as a net exporter of green hydrogen.

The Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Action Plan (draft November 2021) spotlights Aberdeen as one of Europe’s most advanced hydrogen cities, home to one of the world’s largest fleets of hydrogen buses since 2015 – a campaign which continues to expand today incorporating refuelling station and public service vehicles. The region already hosts a number of innovative hydrogen enterprises including H2 Aberdeen, the Aberdeen Hydrogen Hub, Acorn, ERM Dolphyn and Huntly Hydrogen projects, with hydrogen test facilities being developed by the Energy Transition Zone Ltd and the Net Zero Technology Centre. Realising these ambitions will create a prosperous new hydrogen economy, with potential to support thousands of jobs across all levels in Scotland alone by 2045 according to the Scottish Hydrogen Assessment Report (December 2020).


In recognition of the importance that skills have in maximising the opportunities hydrogen presents, the Scottish Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Association hosted dedicated skills sessions and panel discussions during their summer 2022 hydrogen workshop & brokerage events. Held over 3 locations, these events reached the south, central, highlands and islands of Scotland, with presentations from key skills organisations including NESA, The Energy Skills Partnership, National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland and numerous educational institutions.

The importance of collaboration, between educational institutions and training centres with industry, was a recurring theme throughout the discussions. It is critical to understand the skills required for this emerging industry and provide re-, up- and new-skilling opportunities across all levels, to ensure a responsive and just energy transition.


In September 2021, a Hydrogen Skills Partnership Memorandum of Understanding was signed by NESA, Scottish Power and ITM Power. This partnership focuses on:

  • Understanding future jobs, workforce capabilities and supply chain readiness for hydrogen projects
  • Developing and implementing plans to grow supply chain and develop the required skills
  • Showcasing green, sustainable, high-value jobs related to the hydrogen sector in the UK

Work to date indicates that over 90% of the qualifications and knowledge detailed in a range of job descriptions were already covered by the current provision from the NESA educational institutions. Addressing the 10% skills gap will be key to achieving future growth ambitions for the UK hydrogen sector. This partnership demonstrates industry support for the skills agenda and commitment to re-, up- and new-skilling of the UK workforce for hydrogen jobs and a greener future.