The first group of trainees to complete the inaugural 12-month training programme with the UK’s only dedicated academy for the offshore wind industry have all successfully started work in new roles within the industry.
In testament to the Offshore Marine Academy’s aim to take people with a familiarity with the marine and coastal environment and prepare them for a new career in the expanding offshore wind industry, each of the four trainees have been snapped up by employers. Now working with developers Centrica, offshore cable installation contractors Visser & Smit Marine Contracting and marine solutions specialists Offshore Marine Management (OMM), the graduates all lived in England’s South West and came from a variety of backgrounds when they entered the first course in September last year.
The Offshore Marine Academy launched its Offshore Trainee Programme in response to the recognised skills gap in the offshore wind industry, which has meant there is a lack of qualified and able workers available for the wide range of careers. The Academy’s aim is to enable trainees to receive the right mix of training and experience to start their career in this growing arena. James Grant, 22, had completed an electrical apprenticeship prior to the programme and is now a trainee cable engine driver on the 89m cable laying vessel Team Oman. While Daniel Fraser-Pickard, 26, renovated buildings before the programme and is now a permits coordinator, supporting the Lincs project team under supervision for Centrica.
Daniel said the Academy helped him make a really smooth transition from working in the construction industry to employment in the offshore industry. The programme includes offshore survival and induction; field trips, site visits and operational activities such as lifting and rigging practice; sessions on seamanship and navigation, sub survey, hydraulics and working at heights; an understanding of financial management, and safety training. Two more trainees, Mike Giles, 26, a plumber, and Cyrus Mills, 24, an environmental biology graduate are now employed in different departments within OMM. Mike has taken a role as site co-ordinator supporting the development of a new cable storage facility at Gravesend.
Cyrus who is following a career in hydrography said that if the objectives of the Academy are to show a window into the offshore industry whilst providing guidance to enable the individual to further specialise, it has fulfilled it's role 100 percent. Academy Director David Martin said the first programme was so well received that the second programme has now been launched and trainees from North Wales will begin their induction into the 12-month traineeship later this month. “We focused on North Wales this year due to the expanding wind industry activity in the area,” he said. “The programme is intensive and demanding, requiring long periods away from home in often rough and potentially dangerous offshore conditions, so the lifestyle is not for everyone. However for those who embrace the challenge, like our first four trainees, the rewards can be hugely satisfying.”