Setting the scene – opportunities within the hydrogen sector.   

Over the past few years, hydrogen has been seen as a key part of the UK’s decarbonisation plan, especially to decarbonise its high emitting industries, transport, and power stations.  

The UK’s ambitions to establish itself as a world leader in hydrogen are clear. At the end of last year, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, announced backing for 11 new hydrogen projects across the UK.  

These projects will invest around £400 million up front over the next three years, growing the UK’s green economy. An estimated 700 jobs will be created in the hydrogen industry by these projects. This represents an opportunity to foster diversity across jobs and skills. 

More recently, hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technology manufacturing has received a funding boost after the UK Chancellor revealed his Spring Budget earlier this week – further highlighting the extensive opportunities within the sector.  

 

Women’s underrepresentation – looking at the figures   

Whilst there is a huge opportunity for employment, skills, and innovation within the industry, evidence shows that women are unrepresented and face many barriers that could prevent their success, and even their awareness of the opportunities available.  

Data from IRENA’s study found that only: 

  • 32% of women sit within the renewable energy sector.  
  • 20% of panel speakers at green hydrogen summits are women.  
  • 10% of women sit within executive roles.  

 

What do we do about this? 

Working with Hydrogen South West, our new campaign aims to champion female voices in industry. Working with women from all walks of life, we are carrying out new research to identify barriers to development and use our key learnings to develop a set of recommendations to increase female representation within the industry.  

So far, we have talked to a wide range of women across various sectoral practices. Our conversations have uncovered some interesting findings: 

  • Many have personally experienced barriers from the start of their career and all the way to leadership.  
  • Recognising that hydrogen is a multi-disciplinary field, open to women who are interested in exploring all different types of avenues within the sector. (HR, law, finance and so on)  
  • Highlighting not only the importance of breaking down barriers for women within the sector, but also championing the diverse perspectives women have to offer in the hydrogen field.  

It’s clear that the opportunities within the hydrogen sector are vast and promising with the UK positioning itself as a leader in this crucial aspect of decarbonisation. But we must recognise and address the underrepresentation found in the sector, otherwise the cycle of opportunities will continue to be filled by men. 

 

Once our report is finalised, we’ll be sharing our recommendations, calling on both the Government and the industry to help deliver meaningful change by putting our recommendations into practice. Stay in tuned to find out more by following our socials or our Women in Hydrogen web page and if you’d like to get involved and offer your voice to make a change, contact info@hydrogensouthwest.com