Powering your future: From carpenter to captain

Mathew Turner from Turner Iceni standing in boat

Former carpenter Mathew Taylor changed his career to follow his love of the sea - Credit: Turner Iceni

This week, we will be running a series of "Powering Your Future" stories focused on the fantastic career opportunities in East Anglia's exciting offshore wind industry. Here we speak to Mathew Taylor who changed his career to pursue his love of the sea, with help from Turner Iceni.

“For five years, I was very happy in my career as a carpenter, but when I saw the deckhand role advertised by Turner Iceni, I instantly knew that I wanted the job,” says Mathew Taylor from Turner Iceni.  

“I’ve always had a love for boats and the sea,” says Mathew, “so after weeks of pestering my [now] boss, he invited me to an interview and offered me the job on the spot. Although I had never worked on boats so big, I saw it as an exciting challenge and a great opportunity.” 

Mathew was in his first role as deckhand on a crew transfer vessel (CTV) for four years, which included boarding and transferring passengers, loading cargo and transiting to the wind farm. 

To achieve the captain position, Mathew studied for his master200 and yachtmaster offshore qualifications, while learning the paperwork and practical elements, such as manoeuvring the vessels, exercising safety practices and pushing on to turbines.  

Studying to move from deck crew to captain can take as little as 18 months, yet to pass, individuals are tested on their overall seamanship, including their ability to navigate the seas and read specific charts and graphs. Both roles therefore provide hands-on experiences, and require individuals to have their own personal motivation to learn and achieve. 

“The main aspect I love the most about the job is it’s so social as I’m always interacting with different crew members and passengers. Of course, this has had to change over the last year, but the team has adapted really well, and I’m looking forward to it slowly but surely going back to normal,” says Mathew.  

Turner Iceni offer a wide range of roles that may interest those looking for a new career path, including technicians, master deck crew and control room roles. As the industry is rapidly expanding, Turner Iceni has a number of technologies and support teams in place to help those who want to retrain or study to gain higher qualifications. 

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Mathew says: “Some of the tablets the teams use are amazing – they teach you how to troubleshoot a fault right on the screen, so learning the necessary skills to join the team really couldn’t be easier. 

“The wind sector is the future, so to those who are considering pursuing a career in the industry, I’d encourage them to search through the different opportunities and get a feel for what sits right for them. Whether that’s working on the CTVs which take the passengers out, or working hands-on as a technician, there’s a lot of choice now. 

“When I first started, I was just responding to an advert in a newspaper. Nowadays, the wind industry has a much stronger reputation which attracts people to join Turner Iceni and to take advantage of the courses they offer. The sector boasts fantastic career opportunities, which is supported by a healthy salary, education opportunities and a greener future.” 

A Turner Iceni crew transfer vessel on its way out to a wind farm

Many supply chain companies offer training and development opportunities in the growing offshore wind industry, including the crew transfer vessels (CTVs) run by Turner Iceni - Credit: CHPV

Mathew’s two brothers, Rory and George, were both inspired by his journey with Turner Iceni and decided to pursue careers within the company too. Former landscape gardener Rory took an interest after seeing several of Mathew’s social media posts, and George wanted to kickstart his career after returning from travelling around Australia. Both brothers are now working on CTVs as deck crew. 

Mathew says: “We all inherited our love for the sea from our dad, and as a family, we always had little fishing boats. Once I found the opportunity, my brothers soon followed suit, and I can confidently say we’ve all worked hard on our careers and have never looked back. 

“Pursuing a career within Turner Iceni opens a world of opportunities. The company favours offering their employees educational schemes to help them advance through the company, rather than recruiting new members in. 

“This means whichever position or level you enter the company at, you’ll be encouraged to grow your career and expand your knowledge.” ​​​​​​​

Front cover of the Powering Your Future supplement

Powering Your Future: How offshore wind is creating new careers in East Anglia - Credit: Archant

Find out more about getting your foot in the door and helping generate the clean green energy we all need for a greener, zero-carbon future that will benefit future generations for years to come in the Powering Your Future supplement, produced in partnership with ScottishPower Renewables.

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