RWE Recruits New Applicants for Its Wales Wind Farm Apprenticeship Scheme
RWE npower renewables (RWE NRL) is expanding its highly popular Wales wind farm apprenticeship programme with a second round of recruitment for new candidates.
The Apprentice Scheme, first launched by RWE NRL in partnership with Grwp Llandrillo Menai, is the first of its kind in Wales and was fully supported at the official opening in June 2012 by First Minister Carwyn Jones.
Recruitment for the new applicants is now well underway online, and prospective recruits from all corners of North, Mid and South Wales are already applying for the five places up for grabs.
Welcoming recruitment to the scheme, newly appointed Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Ken Skates (AM) said: “It’s vital than we have a highly-skilled, well-trained workforce that can meet the needs of employers in the renewable sector.
“The Welsh Government is committed to providing more opportunities for young people to take up apprenticeships and to support employers who want to recruit additional apprentices.
“We believe employers need to use apprenticeships as a key mechanism to make their business more competitive.
“This apprentice scheme is an excellent example of partnership working between the sector and our colleges. It is very pleasing to see Welsh apprentices taking up these opportunities, assisting us in generating more electricity from clean, renewable energy sources.”
RWE npower renewables worked closely with Grwp Llandrillo Menai, North Wales, as well as representatives from EU Skills and the National Skills Academy for Power to bring these apprentice opportunities to Wales.
RWE NRL UK Economic Investment Manager Tanya Davies added: “We’re delighted that RWE NRL is able to provide five more skilled learning and employment opportunities in Wales, in addition to the six apprentices we took on last year.
“These apprenticeships demonstrate an absolute and clear link between the delivery of renewables and the opportunities the sector can represent for the Welsh economy.
“Half of all the apprenticeship posts will be located and work in rural areas, where there are few enough opportunities for skilled engineering jobs. We hope these posts enable the young people involved to be able to live, learn and work locally, while supporting their economies, communities and the environment long term.”
The first six RWE NRL apprentices, recruited in 2012, have almost completed their initial year’s training at Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s Llandrillo College, in North Wales. Four further apprentices were taken on by South Wales engineering company ISOfab, in preparation for working on Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in South Wales.
All 10 of the 2012 intake will now turn their focus on wind turbine engineering and technology in their second year, at Llandrillo College’s specialist multi-million pound Renewable Energy Centre at the Rhos-on-Sea Campus in Conwy.
Once the course is complete, the apprentices will support wind farm operations onshore and offshore, across Wales.
RWE NRL has an operating portfolio of seven onshore and two offshore wind farms in Wales, all of which will become the workplace once the apprentices become fully trained turbine technicians.
Offshore, Gwynt y Mor will provide a further significant opportunity, once it begins operation at the end of 2014, while proposed onshore wind farm developments at Taff Ely, Brechfa Forest West and Mynydd y Gwair, all in South Wales, could offer further security for the future.
In North Wales, three of the new offshore recruits will join last year’s apprentices working out of the Port of Mostyn on RWE’s flagship project Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind farm, the largest currently under construction in the RWE fleet. Studies also suggest additional pipeline projects like Clocaenog Forest, near Ruthin, could be worth up to £22million to the region’s supply chain during construction alone, with long term operational and support jobs required over the project’s 20 years+ operational lifetime.
In Mid Wales, two new onshore recruits will join three existing apprentices, working out of RWE NRL’s Wind Turbine Service Centre located in a purpose built facility at Llanidloes, Mid Wales. From here the already 30+ strong team operates and maintains RWE NRL’s fleet of wind turbines across Wales, and parts of the Midlands and South West England. Studies also suggest additional pipeline projects like the 150megawatt Carnedd Wen Wind Farm and Habitat Restoration Project, in Powys could be worth up to £31million to the region’s supply chain during construction alone, with long term operational and support jobs required over the project’s 20 years+ operational lifetime.
In South Wales, proposed onshore wind farm developments at Taff Ely, Brechfa Forest West and Mynydd y Gwair could potentially open the door for the new apprentices to work locally on projects. Studies suggest additional pipeline projects like Brechfa Forest East in Carmarthenshire, could be worth up to £19million to the region’s supply chain during construction alone, with long term operational and support jobs required over the project’s 20 years+ operational lifetime.
Energy and Utility Skills Group’s Skills Director Wales, Aled Davies, said: “EU Skills and the National Skills Academy for Power are committed to developing a skilled workforce in the renewable sector in Wales and pleased at the expansion of this apprenticeship programme which was developed in partnership with employers to meet their needs in Wales.
“The pan-Wales delivery model underpinning this programme enables collaboration between colleges and the development of talent across the country, this second intake of apprentices demonstrates the model is sustainable and delivering high quality learning which maximises the benefits to employers.”
Press release, July 2, 2013; Image: RWE