DONG Energy has joined forces with Maersk Training to ensure the booming UK offshore wind sector has the skills it needs for the future.
The UK leads the world in the deployment of offshore wind technology with more than four gigawatts of capacity installed - enough to meet the electricity needs of over 2 million homes.
As more and more offshore wind farms are being constructed around the UK coastline, it is vital that technicians with the right skills and experience are available to maintain the turbines. Anticipating a potential skills gap, DONG Energy is working with Newcastle-based Maersk Training to give people a head start in the industry.
A 12-week training course, developed by Maersk, covers areas such as working in confined spaces, electrical awareness, working at height, manual handling, sea survival, first aid and fire awareness. Thanks to the partnership with DONG Energy, the course includes several weeks of hands-on experience working offshore on wind turbines.
Following the success of a pilot scheme last year, the course will run again in 2015 with people recruited from the Barrow-in-Furness area, home to three DONG Energy wind offshore farms, Barrow, Walney and West of Duddon Sands, with a combined capacity of 845 MW.
Adrian Macklin, Head of Operations at the company's Barrow offshore wind farm, said: " We knew there were enthusiastic, self-motivated people with some of the right skills out in the job market. This course allows us to expand people's skill sets and build on existing qualifications with real-time experience, paving the way for potential new careers as wind turbine technicians."
He added: "The success of this scheme is testament to everyone involved. I am delighted we will now be repeating this support in 2015 with local candidates from the Barrow area, which hopefully will assist local people in securing long-term employment."
Stuart Cameron, UK Managing Director at Maersk Training said: "The continued rapid expansion of the offshore and wind energy sector means that high quality technicians are more in demand than ever to fill the increasing number of roles. It has been estimated that an additional 70,500 skilled workers will need to be employed within the industry by 2023 so there are some fantastic opportunities for those seeking employment in the region. Our diplomas have led to graduates receiving job offers from some of the industry leaders".