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An evaluation of the Offshore Wind Diversification Support programme: final report


The report provides an evaluation of the Offshore Wind Diversification Support (OWDS) programme, which seeks to help companies to diversify into the offshore wind (OW) sector. The key objectives of the evaluation were to: assess the economic impacts and benefits of the programme to date and in the future; identify and assess qualitative benefits from the programme; review the management and implementation of the programme, including how it is received by industry, the robustness of its process and management from both internal and external perspectives, and the effectiveness of the Expert Support Programme (ESP) (which provides two days of free consultancy advice from specialist contractors to programme participants) delivery arrangements; and make recommendations for the future delivery of the programme and/or other support to strengthen the supply chain for OW.


The methodology consisted of three elements: a desk-based review and analysis of literature related to the programme; consultations with Scottish Enterprise (SE) Programme Executives, Account Managers, and ESP contractors; and a telephone and online survey of companies that engaged with the programme.


The evaluation found that the programme has made significant progress towards targets, and is on track to meet these. The following progress against targets was noted: companies participating in raising awareness events – 112% achieved; companies benefiting from ESP – 89%; and number of intelligence reports – 65%. In terms of providing supply chain intelligence to Scottish companies, aimed at raising their awareness of OW opportunities, it was found that this target is only 52% achieved and it is suggested that this represents a challenge to achieve by the end of 2015. Regarding the management and implementation of the programme, it was found that overall, the industry has had positive experiences from their engagement with it, and it is regarded as effective across several measures, such as the provision of an effective but high level introduction into offshore renewables. In terms of the economic impact of the programme, the realised impacts (value of turnover and employment growth to date as a result of support received) were estimated to be four FTEs (employment) and £33.5million (GVA); while the forecasted impacts were 232 FTEs and £33.5million. In terms of the realised impacts, the evaluation identifies three factors which may explain why there is a disparity between GVA and employment growth: time lags – orders may have been secured and contracts signed but employment levels required to fulfil the contract have yet to be recruited; sub-contracted labour – the reported employment growth relates to full time permanent recruits with the bulk of the contract being serviced by sub-contracted labour, which has not been included in the reported job growth figures; or the bulk of the contract is being delivered overseas using overseas staff – however the data would not support this explanation as low levels of leakage was reported. It is noted that only two companies provided data of the realised impacts, and eight of the forecasted.


It is recommended that the programme is redesigned and repositioned to target support to those companies who have already decided that OW is a sector they wish to supply and to support them to take effective action and steps to convert these actions to sales and subsequently, economic impact. For those companies which have made a commitment to supply the sector and have greatest potential, the following is recommended: more in-depth specialist expert advice should be made available; support provided should continue to be integrated into the existing SE/HIE support programmes; an increased emphasis and resource to facilitate “Meet the Buyers” opportunities for individual companies; internationalisation must be embedded in every project and fully aligned to SDI supports such as exhibitions and missions and international manager for hire; where Business Gateway supported companies make a commitment to exploiting the sector, they should also have access to the more in-depth expert support, making a financial contribution to the support; and the event programme should be continued to help identify other companies who have not yet considered supplying the sector. It is further recommended that, as the number of companies who may be interested in supplying the OW sector but have not yet participated in the programme is unclear: the two day ESP support provided free to participating companies is continued, and should also be promoted more widely in the Highlands and Islands area, particularly in wave and tidal; the short advisory sessions held at events should continue with a view to helping companies identify if the ESP support would be of value to them; and as wave and tidal are emerging markets, the programme should be available to provide the initial ESP support to companies in this market.

Author Bellerby Economics; Jean Hamilton Limited
Published Year 2015
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support, Support to existing/growth businesses