Pioneer Mark provides wind power sector with skills for the future

Posted on by karen.smith

Mark McDonough advises Innogy Renewables UK apprentice Iwan Evans.

Mark McDonough advises Innogy Renewables UK apprentice Iwan Evans.

Wind power is generating an exciting career for pioneer Mark McDonough, a work-based learning assessor at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Rhos-on-Sea responsible for training the next generation of windfarm technicians.

Mark, 36, from Denbigh, was responsible for setting up an award-winning, bespoke Apprenticeship in Wind Turbine Maintenance and Operations in Wales four years ago in partnership with wind power companies Innogy Renewables UK Ltd and Isofab Limited/Vattenfall. He now travels to onshore and offshore windfarms across the UK to assess 21 apprentices.

He joined the college nine years ago after a decade in the manufacturing industry and has achieved a series of assessors’ and teaching qualifications.

Now he has been shortlisted for the Work-based Learning Assessor and Tutor of the Year Award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which take place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes. The awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Mark was responsible for establishing the Wind Turbine Training Centre at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Rhos-on-Sea campus, which uses the latest technology to provide a realistic working environment for apprentices and produced learning materials and resources for assessment.

He’s one of only a handful of assessors in the UK who can assess the C&G NVQ3 Diploma in Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance. Two years ago, he utilised an online e-portfolio system to allow continuous feedback and review of the apprentices’ work, which has improved their progress dramatically.

This e-portfolio system is being rolled out across the college and awarding bodies are discussing its wider use in qualifications.

“The satisfaction I get is seeing apprentices complete their apprenticeship and secure a career in their chosen profession,” said Mark, a member of Renewable UK’s Skill and Employment Strategy Group. “There is nothing more satisfying than hearing how they are progressing in work and also in their own life.”

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated Mark and the other 32 shortlisted award finalists. “We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.

“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.”

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