Training to start at East of England Offshore Wind Skills centre

Employers and training partners at launch of the East of England Offshore Wind Training Centre Pi

Employers and training partners at launch of the East of England Offshore Wind Training Centre Picture: TMS Media - Credit: Archant

Pioneering employer-led training to ensure a pipeline of skilled workers for the multi-billion-pound offshore wind farms off the east coast is to start this month.

The new East of England Offshore Wind Skills Centre, based at East Coast College’s Great Yarmouth campus, will provide technician training for local people to work in the growing wind farm industry off the East Anglian coast.

Lead employer 3sun Group is supporting 60 places while developers of the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm , ScottishPower Renewables, has invested £55,000 to sponsor up to 13 places.

Up to £500,000 worth of equipment, including wind turbine generators, blades and hydraulics, has already been committed by companies.

Vattenfall, developers of Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offsore wind farms, is also supporting the programme.

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Two courses have initially been designed for the centre, a refurbished building on the Great Yarmouth campus. A three-week transition course will target people with engineering backgrounds, in allied industries and other related sectors, and a 12-week course is for jobseekers and recent education leavers.

Employers will also support individuals’ entry into the industry with work experience, job interviews and feedback on applications.

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Investment generated from employers will fund the development of more industry-relevant courses.

Training content has been shaped by employers to ensure the most relevant skills for today’s industry in installation, construction, commissioning and operations and maintenance.

The project has been made possible by a £1.1 million grant from the New Anglia Skills Deal Programme, provided by Norfolk County Council, Suffolk local authorities and the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Graham Hacon, CEO of 3sun Group, said: “The big barrier for people in this area to get into offshore wind is the enormous cost of the technical wind-related training. This provides the funding to remove this barrier.

“We are looking for more companies to be involved. The more that join, the greater benefit to the company when it is looking for skilled technicians.”

Principal and chief executive of East Coast College, Stuart Rimmer, said people from Norfolk and Suffolk, primarily Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, were being targeted. Up to 12 people would be in each cohort.

He added: “East Coast College is delighted to be a key partner and host to the East of England Offshore Wind Skills Centre which will provide a pool of candidates with the most relevant up-to-date skills and qualifications who can be recruited based on their performance and who are work-ready. In turn, this reduces recruitment costs and training costs to employers.

“Employers will be able to look at the candidates coming through and give them the opportunity to go for a trial and, if they don’t get a job with them, they are well-placed to get a job in the supply chain.”

The 18-month programme is a precursor to next year’s launch of the £11.3m Energy & Engineering Skills Centre at East Coast College’s Lowestoft campus.

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