German energy giant launches recruitment drive for technician trainees to help fill looming skills gap in burgeoning UK offshore wind sector
Innogy has announced it is to develop a national offshore wind training hub in North Wales as part the German energy firm's apprenticeship programme, in a bid to offer hands-on experience at state-of-the-art wind farms around the UK coastline.
The company launched a recruitment drive for five prospective candidates to joint its three-year apprentice wind turbine technician programme in September, as part of which it is piloting a national apprenticeship hub to "help meet the skills-need" of the UK's growing offshore wind sector.
As part of its Offshore Wind Sector Deal first announced last year, the UK government has set its sights on the industry providing 40GW of electricity capacity by 2030, up from less than 10GW today.
The training hub builds on Innogy's existing apprenticeship programme at Coleg Llandrillo. Apprentices are set to spend two years at the North Wales college, and a third year gaining work experience at offshore wind farms Rhyl Flats in the Irish Sea and Titon Knoll off the coast of Lincolnshire, the firm said.
Richard Sandford, director of offshore investment and asset management for Innogy Renewables UK, said he was "thrilled" to launch the pilot apprenticeship programme, with which the firm aimed fill the looming gap in skills when Innogy builds out its UK offshore wind pipeline.
"Our extremely successful apprenticeship programme was first launched in 2012 to generate skilled technicians that could meet the needs of Gwynt y Môr [574MW offshore wind farm]," he said. "This course has since trained nearly 30 new apprentices producing high quality technicians who have been deployed, both locally and across the UK. This is why we are keen to trial this national hub as the need is clearly now wider than North Wales."
With three apprentices already recruited, this year the firm said eight trainee wind turbine technicians would be joining the programme in total, its biggest intake to date. Successful apprentices will gain an NVQ qualification, affording them potential to work on some of the world's largest wind farms, it said.
The move follows growing calls from the green economy to upskill the UK's workforce as the net zero transition gathers momentum. Earlier this week the European Corporate Leaders Group, the coalition of major firms pushing for climate action, produced a report urging European governments to put green jobs and skills at the forefront of Covid-19 recovery plans.
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