Meeting the demands of the evolving hydrogen landscape

The Hydrogen Tanks for bulk storage, distribution and commercial use report outlines that urgent action is needed to develop a skilled workforce to meet the government’s hydrogen targets, and the time to act is now.

Posted on: 11/06/2024

Increasing the use of hydrogen as a zero-carbon fuel source is key to the government’s Net Zero strategy and one which will mobilise additional public and private investment of £20 – £30 billion into the hydrogen sector.

In order to meet these government targets and deliver on the outlined plans, action is needed to improve the skills of our workforce, in design, installation and maintenance of hydrogen bulk storage tanks.

The latest Workforce Foresighting report carried out by the National Composites Centre, alongside the Tank Storage Association, identifies that very few of the current occupational standards are suitable for wholesale adoption to deliver the skills needed for the roll-out of hydrogen storage tanks.

Why was this report carried out?

As part of the UK Government’s Net Zero strategy, hydrogen has been identified as a zero-carbon fuel source which could help drive the UK towards its 2030 targets.

The government has set a target of delivering up to 10 GW of hydrogen production capacity and supporting up to 10,000 new jobs in the sector by 2030, with at least half of this coming from electrolytic hydrogen.

This report was carried out to evaluate issues and concerns about the future skills availability to meet the challenge of hydrogen take-up, specifically with regards to above-ground cryogenic and pressurised hydrogen storage tanks. These tanks are critical in all aspects of bulk storage, distribution and commercial use and are appliable across many sectors.

However, concerns about skills gaps in design, installation, maintenance, and operation threaten to impede progress in this critical area.

What are the findings of the report?

The report identifies both organisational and occupational changes are needed to meet the demands of the evolving hydrogen landscape.

  • Organisational Change: A shift towards increased emphasis on design, implementation, and logistics functions, necessitating a re-evaluation of current organisational capabilities.
  • Occupational Change: The identification of key role groups and the proficiency required for each, alongside proposed future occupational profiles aimed at bridging existing skills gaps.
  • Specific Areas of Concern: A detailed analysis reveals areas where current training provisions fall short, urging stakeholders to take immediate action to address skill deficiencies.

Overall, the report emphasises the need for a sustained effort to update existing training provisions and develop new standards to ensure a skilled workforce capable of driving innovation and growth in the hydrogen sector.

What are the next steps?

The Workforce Foresighting Hub activity represents the initial step in a broader Skills Value Chain approach. The NCC and TSA (as the convener and the sponsor), together with the Hydrogen Skills Alliance are now responsible for taking the findings and driving action to deliver future skills. A working group should be established, bringing together various stakeholders to support the process and implement the recommended short and mid-term actions outlined in the report, needed to develop a skilled workforce to meet the government’s hydrogen targets.

Related programme

Workforce Foresighting

Workforce Foresighting

How do we build a skilled workforce for tomorrow’s industries? The Workforce Foresighting Hub has developed a structured process, aligned with national policy, to help deliver a workforce to exploit innovative technologies in the UK. We’re supporting industry, policymakers and educators to adapt to continuing change.


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