First Wind Turbine Apprenticeship Programme and Training Centre Officially Open in Wales
The First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM has officially opened the country’s first wind turbine technician apprenticeship programme and dedicated training centre.
The new programme, launched by RWE npower renewables (RWE NRL) in partnership with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, has created six new apprenticeships in North and Mid Wales – a clear indicator of the company’s and sector’s potential to deliver new, skilled jobs in Wales.
On completion of the course, each apprentice is expected to go on to a job on RWE NRL’s most important flagship wind farm projects onshore and offshore in Wales, including Gwynt y Môr – currently one of the largest offshore wind farms in construction in Europe.
Speaking at the launch of the programme and the official opening of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s dedicated training centre at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhos-on-Sea Campus, the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM said: “In March, I announced the Welsh Government’s commitment to work with business to bring long term economic benefits to Wales from the investment being made in our low carbon energy sector.
“This means securing the highest possible number of jobs for our communities and this new apprentice programme is exactly the type of activity we are encouraging and supporting. We will continue to work with business and industry to make sure we maximise the full benefits of this sector for Wales.
“Developing the Welsh workforce to meet the industry’s needs by providing high quality vocational learning is one area where we will be continuing to engage with businesses as part of our Energy Wales programme.”
RWE npower renewables has been working closely with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai as well as representatives from EU Skills and the National Skills Academy for Power to bring these apprentice opportunities to Wales.
Its six trainees, three from Mid Wales and three from North Wales, will spend two years at Coleg Llandrillo’s new wind turbine training centre in Rhos-on-Sea, before gaining first-hand experience on a project in their final year.
RWE npower renewables head of offshore operations, Peter Williams, said: “We are delighted to be pioneering the first wind turbine technician apprenticeship scheme of its kind in Wales and our first as a company, across Europe.
“We are committed to building a long term skilled workforce to operate and maintain our portfolio of wind farms both onshore and offshore in Wales.
“This represents a significant investment for us to support the development of young talent in Wales and we hope our partnership with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai will see the College becoming a centre of excellence in training for the renewables sector.
“These apprenticeships, and those within our other industry sectors, support so many core principles that underpin the renewables industry in the UK. They’re focused on long term, skilled and sustainable jobs within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths arena. They demonstrate the significant investment the industry is prepared to make in upskilling the local workforce, and illustrate where jobs can and are being created directly through the renewable sector.”
A further four apprentices have been taken on by ISOFab, a mechanical engineering contractor based in Treherbert in the Rhondda, to work on projects run by developer Vattenfall.
They are spending their first year at Neath Port Talbot College in south Wales before coming to the Coleg Llandrillo facility for their second year.
ISOFab’s managing director, Richard Morris said: “We’re delighted to be part of this pioneering and exciting initiative. In today’s economic climate, businesses need to be constantly looking at new emerging industries and markets. Working on this scheme has enabled us to partner with Vattenfall on their flagship Pen y Cymoedd project which offers a real opportunity for us in the industry. As well as offering a very real opportunity to young people in the area, we hope that our partnership through these apprenticeships will help us better understand the needs of the renewable sector to develop further business opportunities for the future.”
Glyn Jones, CEO of Grŵp Llandrillo-Menai, said: “Energy is one of the Grŵp ’s key sectors for economic activity, with both Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Menai developing provision in this area.
“The Marine & Built Environment Centre at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhos-on-Sea Campus already provides state-of-the art facilities for renewable energy and sustainable technologies training in the region, with full-time and part-time courses up to Foundation degree level being delivered to meet the expanding needs of the local economy.
“Coleg Llandrillo’s recent approval as a ‘National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies’ confirms its importance in helping to expand the low carbon energy sector within Wales, and supports the Grŵp ’s strategic goal of developing its curriculum to reflect local priorities and also the economic aspirations and priorities of Wales. The opening of the Wind Turbine Training Centre marks the next stage in Coleg Llandrillo’s plans to help achieve this.
“I am delighted that partnerships with major organisations in the sector have been forged to enable this apprenticeship programme to be launched, and we look forward to developing successful relationships with other key players in the sector in the future.”
Press release, December 11, 2012; Image: wales