UK firms are being told of the “huge opportunities” from the offshore wind industry in the coming years.

The Offshore Wind Industry Council has launched a £100 million, 10-year programme to support UK businesses looking to capitalise on the growth in offshore wind around the world.

Industry chairman of the council, Benj Sykes, said: “The offshore wind industry is offering multimillion-pound opportunities to hundreds of innovative companies throughout the UK in the years ahead, including new entrants to the market as well as firms already working in this area.

“The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership will provide practical help for UK companies so they can compete successfully for contracts in this thriving global market.

“The UK’s global pre-eminence in offshore wind means we are uniquely placed to sell our innovative products and services worldwide”.

Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, said potential benefits from the boom in offshore wind and renewables had “passed the UK workforce and economy by” .

He added: “Look no further than the yards lying idle in Fife as contracts go offshore to Spain, Indonesia and the Middle East.

“Securing decent jobs in the renewables industry and its supply chain, and fairness in how decarbonisation costs are met, is now paramount.”

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash said: “It’s essential that the opportunities presented by the growth in offshore renewable ene‎rgy are not squandered and result in secure and properly paid jobs with the union recognised for bargaining purposes.

“RMT does not want to see the workers delivering the offshore wind energy agenda at the bottom of the pile. This expanding sector should be putting them first.”