First renewables apprentices set to work

The UK’s first Modern Apprenticeship for the renewables industry has been launched with fifteen candidates in full-time training starting at Fife’s Carnegie College.

The three-year engineering qualification is split evenly between on-the-job training with the employers and college-based learning.

Speaking in Glasgow at RenewableUK 2010, the wind and marine energy trade body’s 32nd Annual Conference & Exhibition, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond praised the collaborative efforts of the six partners involved in delivering the Wind Turbine Technician Modern Apprenticeship.  

Siemens, REpower and Weir Group were each recognised for pioneering the recruitment of apprentices for the training route. The qualification holds the quality hallmark of City & Guilds and meets the standards of the National Skills Academy for Power.

New apprentice Lewis Hamilton, 18, from Dunfermline, Fife said: “It was great to be selected for this new course. I always wanted to get into engineering and now I have one of the best opportunities for training from Siemens and Carnegie College. I am looking forward to getting out on site and putting some of the theory we are learning into action.”

RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery MBE said: “This is a truly significant step for the industry and I would like to congratulate the tenacious efforts of all those involved. Over the next decade the UK expects to see the contribution to electricity from wind to increase to around 30% from the 5% it stands at today. With a twelve-fold increase in the number of employees needed to fuel this growth, training initiatives such as the apprenticeship are absolutely crucial. The industry and its partners in education and skills should be extremely proud of what has been achieved here and we look forward to seeing more colleges and employers across the country taking up the scheme.”

Christoph Ehlers, Managing Director, Siemens Renewables Division, UK said: “As the leading supplier of offshore and onshore wind turbines, grid connections and service and maintenance in the UK, our support of the apprenticeship scheme is critical, not only to our business, but to the industry as a whole. We already provide a great deal of training via our dedicated wind power training centre in Newcastle, but the new scheme complements this perfectly. We want to build up a sustainable way of offering young people careers in the Wind Industry. We wish all current and future apprentices all the best in their careers.”

Rick Eggleston, Managing Director, REpower UK said: “We’re proud to be supporting the UK’s first apprentice scheme for wind turbine technicians. REpower has always recognised that a shortage of relevant skills is a major challenge facing the renewables industry, and we’re thrilled to be doing our bit to bring in new talent. Courses such as this one provided by Carnegie College are paramount in ensuring the continued growth and long-term success of the wind industry.”

David Arnold, Business Development Director, Renewables for Weir Power and Industrial said: "Weir Power and Industrial are delighted to be supporting this very important initiative. Consistently a shortfall in the availability of trained and competent wind turbine technicians is highlighted as an industry concern. This programme developed by the industry to help alleviate this issue lends credibility to the maturity of the wind industry. Weir Power and Industrial look forward to working with partners Siemens, REpower and Carnegie College to ensure the aims of the course are delivered and a new generation of technicians are introduced professionally to this industry that is very important for both Scotland and the rest of the UK."    

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