Wind of change helps train renewable engineers of the future
With future demands on the UK’s energy industry increasing, it’s vitally important for a company like Innogy Renewables UK Ltd to be at the forefront of renewable technology.
The Llanidloes company must have skilled and trained staff to develop and maintain technology, such as the wind turbines on and offshore in Wales. It therefore set up its own in-house maintenance department and wanted to develop an apprenticeship programme that met its needs.
The company developed a relationship with training provider Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and a bespoke training facility was established with the college to provide industry specific resources to enable apprentices to learn on turbine specific equipment and machines.
The investment has been recognised by the company being shortlisted for the Large and Macro Employer 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.
“The training programme is unique as, unlike a traditional apprenticeship, the apprentices spend the first two years at the college full time and then a third year working on our windfarm sites across Wales,” said Kevin Jones, Innogy Renewables UK’s south maintenance manager.
“Our apprentices work alongside our turbine technicians and carry out and support inspections, maintenance and general upkeep and repairs of our turbines and windfarms.”
The apprenticeship is the first of its kind in Wales with 26 apprentices having been recruited since it was established. It offers frameworks in wind turbine operations, power generation and engineering operations.
The company encourages apprentices to talk about their work in their home communities, including their former schools. The programme and apprentices have also achieved a range of awards in recent years, from Apprentice of the Year to business awards.
Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated Innogy Renewables UK 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.”