Six young men from North Wales have taken their first steps into a new career in the offshore wind energy industry having been accepted as trainees with the UK’s only dedicated trainee academy for the offshore wind industry, Offshore Marine Academy.
Ranging in age from 20 to 24, the trainees come from a variety of backgrounds including plumbing, the Royal Marines and electronics, but all applied with the aim of starting a long-term career in the growing local offshore wind industry.
The trainees are the second group to embark on a12-month programme with Bristol-based Offshore Marine Academy, which launched its Offshore Trainee Programme in the South West of England last year. Its aim is to give successful applicants the right mix of training and experience to begin a new career in this developing industry.
Chosen from more than 200 applicants, the trainees are: Scott Pitman, 24 from Holyhead; Joe Stafford, 21 and Ronan Conway, 24 both from Colwyn Bay; 24-year-old Martyn Berrington from Rhos-On-Sea; Troy Melling, 21 from Old Colwyn and 20-year-old Ralph Williams from Penrhynside.
Martyn Berrington said he was surprised to see such an opportunity in the current economic climate but not being in an office was a big motivator. While with many friends and family already working in renewables, Ralph Williams has always hoped for a long-term career in the industry.
Academy Director David Martin said that there were no specific qualifications required for the full-salaried course, however applicants needed to be familiar with the marine environment, be physically fit and capable of meeting the rigours of offshore work and be eager to pursue a career in the renewables industry.
“Each of our trainees saw this as an excellent opportunity to build on his abilities to date and transfer into the offshore arena,” Mr Martin said. “Through classwork, field trips, site visits and operational activities, our trainees will receive offshore survival and induction; lifting and rigging practice; an introduction to ROVs (remotely operated vehicles); sessions on seamanship and navigation, sub survey, hydraulics and working at heights; an understanding of project and financial management, and safety training.”
“They all have different expectations when it comes to what they want to get out of the course, whether it be operating ROVs, commercial diving, working at heights or another role on a vessel, but the next 12-months will give them a taste of all the potential opportunities and enable them to choose where they would like to specialise.”
Troy Melling has already expressed an interest in working on the back-deck of vessels with lifting and rigging, likewise Scott Pitman who says he is a “hands on guy”. However all the trainees are open-minded at this early stage of the course.
“The offshore industry is one of the few areas with growth potential but that there is a distinct lack of qualified and able workers for the wide range of careers so these trainees will be well positioned to fill one of the numerous gaps,” Mr Martin said.
Upon completion of the programme trainees will be awarded a certificate of achievement from Offshore Marine Academy and will have recognised qualifications and training that will enable them to move into the area within the offshore sector they had most affinity with. “The North Wales group started last month and have already found it hugely satisfying which bodes well as it's a demanding, but incredibly rewarding, career choice,” Mr Martin said.